feath·​er·​bed | \ ˈfe-t͟hər-ˌbed How to pronounce featherbed (audio) \

Definition of featherbed

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: calling for, sanctioning, or resulting from featherbedding a featherbed rule a featherbed job


featherbedded; featherbedding; featherbeds

Definition of featherbed (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to require that more workers be hired than are needed
b : to limit production under a featherbed rule
2 : to do featherbed work or put in time under a featherbed rule

transitive verb

1 : to bring under a featherbed rule
2 : to assist (something, such as an industry) by government aid

feather bed


Definition of feather bed (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a feather mattress
2 : a bed having a feather mattress

Examples of featherbed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Villa-style accommodations with Italian furnishings, fireplaces and feather beds furthered the away-from-it-all feeling. Christina Julian, latimes.com, "Enjoy Broadway in Jack London State Park on a weekend trip to Sonoma," 3 July 2019 Blue-, orange-, and green-hued rooms have travertine showers and feather beds. Condé Nast Traveler, "Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa," 20 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'featherbed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of featherbed


1938, in the meaning defined above


1949, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for featherbed

Time Traveler

The first known use of featherbed was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Featherbed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/featherbed. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for featherbed

feather bed


English Language Learners Definition of feather bed

: a bed with a mattress that is filled with feathers

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