noun \ ˈplüm \
Updated on: 18 Jan 2018

Definition of plume

1 : a feather of a bird: such as
a : a large conspicuous or showy feather
c : plumage
d : a cluster of distinctive feathers
2 a : material (such as a feather, cluster of feathers, or a tuft of hair) worn as an ornament
b : a token of honor or prowess : prize
3 : something resembling a feather (as in shape, appearance, or lightness): such as
a : a plumose appendage of a plant
b : an elongated and usually open and mobile column or band (as of smoke, exhaust gases, or blowing snow)
c : an animal structure having a main shaft bearing many hairs or filamentous parts; especially : a full bushy tail
d : any of several columns of molten rock rising from the earth's lower mantle that are theorized to drive tectonic plate movement and to underlie hot spots

Examples of plume in a Sentence

  1. a hat with bright ostrich plumes

  2. the Nobel Prize for Literature is the plume that all authors covet

Recent Examples of plume from the Web

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

Illustration of plume

Origin and Etymology of plume

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin pluma small soft feather — more at fleece




Definition of plume

plumed; pluming
transitive verb
1 a : to provide or deck with feathers
b : to array showily
2 : to indulge (oneself) in pride with an obvious or vain display of self-satisfaction
3 of a bird
a : to preen and arrange the feathers of (itself)
b : to preen and arrange (feathers)

Examples of plume in a Sentence

  1. that jerk plumes himself on his supposed athletic skills

First Known Use of plume

15th century

plume Synonyms

PLUME Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of plume for English Language Learners

  • : a feather or group of feathers on a bird

  • : a decoration made of feathers or something similar

  • : something (such as smoke, steam, or water) that rises into the air in a tall, thin shape

PLUME Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈplüm \

Definition of plume for Students

1 : a large or showy feather of a bird
2 : an ornamental feather or tuft of feathers (as on a hat)
3 : something shaped like a large feather
  • a plume of smoke


\ˈplümd\ adjective
  • a plumed cap

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feeling or showing sorrow and remorse

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