feather

noun
feath·​er | \ ˈfe-t͟hər How to pronounce feather (audio) \

Definition of feather

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : any of the light, horny, epidermal outgrowths that form the external covering of the body of birds

Note: Feathers include the smaller down feathers and the larger contour and flight feathers. Larger feathers consist of a shaft (rachis) bearing branches (barbs) which bear smaller branches (barbules). These smaller branches bear tiny hook-bearing processes (barbicels) which interlock with the barbules of an adjacent barb to link the barbs into a continuous stiff vane. Down feathers lack barbules, resulting in fluffy feathers which provide insulation below the contour feathers.

b archaic : plume sense 2a
c : the vane of an arrow
2a : plumage
b : kind, nature birds of a feather flock together
d : condition, mood woke up in fine feather
e feathers plural : composure some feathers had been ruffled— D. J. Blum
4 : a projecting strip, rib, fin, or flange
5 : a feathery flaw in the eye or in a precious stone
6 : the act of feathering an oar
a feather in one's cap
: a mark of distinction : honor

feather

verb
feathered; feathering\ ˈfet͟h-​riŋ How to pronounce feathering (audio) , ˈfe-​t͟hə-​ \

Definition of feather (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to furnish (something, such as an arrow) with a feather
b : to cover, clothe, or adorn with or as if with feathers
2a : to turn (an oar blade) almost horizontal when lifting from the water at the end of a stroke to reduce air resistance
b(1) : to change the angle of (airplane propeller blades) so that the chords become approximately parallel to the line of flight also : to change the angle of airplane propeller blades of (an engine) in such a manner
(2) : to change the angle of (a rotor blade of a rotorcraft) periodically in forward flight
3 : to reduce the edge of to a featheredge
4a of a bird : to cut (the air) with a wing
b of a fish : to cut (the water) with a fin
5 : to join by a tongue and groove
6 : to hit, throw, pass, or shoot softly and usually with precision feathered a perfect lob over the net

intransitive verb

1 : to grow or form feathers
2 : to have or take on the appearance of a feather or something feathered
3 : to soak in and spread : blur used of ink or a printed impression
4 : to feather an oar or an airplane propeller blade
feather one's nest
: to provide for oneself especially financially by unethically exploiting a position of trust

Feather

geographical name
Feath·​er | \ ˈfe-t͟hər How to pronounce Feather (audio) \

Definition of Feather (Entry 3 of 3)

river 100 miles (161 kilometers) long in north central California flowing south into the Sacramento River

Illustration of feather

Illustration of feather

Noun

feather 1a: A: 1 quill, 2 vane; B: 1 barb, 2 barbule, 3 barbicel with hamulus

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from feather

Noun

featherless adjective

Examples of feather in a Sentence

Noun the two brothers are sports-obsessed jocks, and most of their friends are of the same feather prom couples strutted into the ballroom in full feather
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Trump has frequently touted the decision as a feather in his hat regarding U.S. foreign policy. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Joe Biden says he will keep US Embassy in Jerusalem if elected," 30 Apr. 2020 This noisy bird has blue, black and white feathers with a pointed tuft on its head. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "12 Wisconsin birds to look for in your backyard and beyond," 8 May 2020 The 20-foot-tall sculpture of nine stainless steel feathers is arranged in a circle representing a bowl. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "'We never forgot': Why the Irish are helping Navajo and Hopi tribes hit by pandemic," 8 May 2020 In 2017, a sculpture of nine eagles feathers called Kindred Spirits was unveiled in Bailick Park in Midlton, County Cork, Ireland. Mélissa Godin, Time, "Irish Send Money to Native American Community Hit By COVID-19, Returning Historic Favor," 5 May 2020 In 2017, Ireland honored the Choctaw Nation with a sculpture of nine stainless steel eagle feathers stretching 23 feet high. NBC News, "173 years, $170: Why Irish people are donating to help Native Americans hit by coronavirus," 3 May 2020 Flamingos are known for their long legs, long necks, and party-pink feathers. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 24 Apr. 2020 The study suggests research for winter clothing: underclothing that will not readily absorb water, garments that will hold quantities of air in extremely small bubbles, and quilted clothes made of a batting of chicken feathers and cotton. Scientific American, "Warm Clothes Could Be Made of Chicken Feathers," 23 Apr. 2020 Aim for the point on the bird’s neck where the red caruncles meet feathers and squeeze the trigger. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "How to Pattern a Turkey Hunting Gun," 14 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The book has detailed information from accurate renderings of wild birds, to feather patterns based on season and life stage. Lindsey Vickers, USA TODAY, "28 reasons to still be excited that it's spring," 3 Apr. 2020 The extravagant British photographer captured the delirious glamour of artists and socialites of the '20s and '30s, and in turn, Erdem's collection was brimming with razzle-dazzle, from meter-tall feathered headdresses to shimmering silver gowns. Georgia Murray, refinery29.com, "7 Looks To Steal From London Fashion Week," 21 Feb. 2020 Whether feathered or furred, all of these animals belong to the same political species: the bird-dogger. Samuel Ashworth, Washington Post, "The Beautiful Art of Hassling Politicians While Wearing Animal Costumes," 24 Feb. 2020 Mama kept those chicks — now fully feathered — under her fluffy golden-brown self all night long, every night. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: The Case of Mama Hen and the Mongrel Chicks — or: What Would Jesus Say?," 10 Nov. 2019 David Perron carried the puck below the right circle and feathered a pass between two defenders to setup Blais' one-timer. Joe Harris, baltimoresun.com, "Jakub Vrana scores in OT as Capitals beat Blues, 3-2, in opener," 3 Oct. 2019 The only demerits are a slight juddering of the dual clutches when feathering the brake pedal at creeping traffic pace, and a little numbness in the steering when turning in and through mid-corner when driving sedately. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The mid-engined Corvette was 60 years in the making—now we’ve driven it," 25 Feb. 2020 Pastrnak rimmed a puck to no one, and precocious defenseman Quinn Hughes rolled down the boards and feathered a puck into the slot. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, "Canucks take advantage of road-weary Bruins and other observations," 23 Feb. 2020 Brayden Schenn earned his 400th career point by feathering a pass through the goal crease to Jayden Schwartz, who reached around Karlsson to poke his 10th goal into an empty net. Ross Mckeon, SFChronicle.com, "Sharks give up three third-period goals in loss to Blues," 21 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of feather

Noun

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

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for feather

Noun

Middle English fether, from Old English; akin to Old High German federa wing, Latin petere to go to, seek, Greek petesthai to fly, piptein to fall, pteron wing

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Time Traveler for feather

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for feather

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feather. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for feather

feather

noun
How to pronounce Feather (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of feather

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any one of the light growths that make up the outer covering of the body of a bird

feather

verb

English Language Learners Definition of feather (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a feather in or on (something)

feather

noun
feath·​er | \ ˈfe-t͟hər How to pronounce feather (audio) \

Kids Definition of feather

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the light horny growths that make up the outer covering of a bird

Other Words from feather

feathered \ -​t͟hərd \ adjective

feather

verb
feathered; feathering

Kids Definition of feather (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to provide or decorate with feathers
2 : to grow or form feathers

feather

noun
feath·​er | \ ˈfet͟h-ər How to pronounce feather (audio) \

Medical Definition of feather

: one of the light horny epidermal outgrowths that form the external covering of the body of birds and that consist of a shaft bearing on each side a series of barbs which bear barbules which in turn bear barbicels commonly ending in the hooked processes and interlocking with the barbules of an adjacent barb to link the barbs into a continuous vane

Other Words from feather

feathered \ -​ərd How to pronounce feathered (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on feather

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