\ ˈplüm How to pronounce plume (audio) \

Definition of plume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a feather of a bird: such as
a : a large conspicuous or showy feather
c : plumage
d : a cluster of distinctive feathers
2a : 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


plumed; pluming

Definition of plume (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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)

Illustration of plume

Illustration of plume


P plume 2a

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of plume in a Sentence

Noun a hat with bright ostrich plumes the Nobel Prize for Literature is the plume that all authors covet Verb that jerk plumes himself on his supposed athletic skills
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a group of Ukrainian press officers and soldiers arrived, a mortar shell exploded among the cars, sending up a plume of dirt and pavement. James Verini, New York Times, 19 May 2022 In the distance, a large plume of grayish smoke rose over the surrounding hills. Felicia Fonseca, ajc, 21 Apr. 2022 Over in West Oakland, an RV caught fire in the Wood Street homeless encampment, sending a thick plume of black smoke in the air. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Mar. 2022 Video footage captured screams and a large plume of smoke after the thunderous blast. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 5 Mar. 2022 The explosion took place around noon, sending a plume of red smoke into the air and setting several small fires within the mill’s massive property. Karen Caffarini,, 1 Dec. 2021 Records of respiratory deaths in Colorado — in the middle of the eastward-moving smoke plume — further defined the problem. John Fialka, Scientific American, 25 Apr. 2022 Is there any lingering threat to residents living or working in the path of the smoke plume? Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 17 Mar. 2022 Similarly, small-scale plumes gradually condense into the single large upwelling that forms the central region of the plume. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 17 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The map becomes distorted, and the insect no longer associates that plume with the flower. Jennifer Clare Ball, Wired, 25 Feb. 2022 Toilet plume aside, Winner says the steel surfaces, doorknobs, and toilet handles in a public restroom pose the greatest risk. Claire Gillespie,, 16 June 2020 Patrick still painted, filling the family home with idyllic landscapes: a single cabin in the mountains with smoke pluming from its chimney, or a lone figure in a canoe paddling through the wilderness. Alex Perry, Outside Online, 24 July 2019 While the video describes that the engine fire test duration went as expected, fire continued to burn around the Starhopper until a massive fireball exploded around it a few minutes after pluming up high over the test area into the night sky. Richard Tribou,, 15 July 2019 Ash plumes shooting thousands of feet into the sky from the summit have raised concerns about air quality. Heidi Chang,, 1 June 2018 Winds blew much of the 30,000-foot (9,100-meter) plume away from people. Fox News, 18 May 2018 An early morning 18-wheeler crash Sunday (May 13) on eastbound Interstate 10 in St. Martin Parish has left lanes closed and smoke pluming into the air, according to Louisiana State Police. Hanna Krueger,, 13 May 2018 This occurred when exhaust plumes from the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage depleted plasma levels across a 900-km wide area, which the scientists say probably caused about a 1-meter error in GPS navigation programs. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 22 Mar. 2018 See More

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.

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First Known Use of plume


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for plume


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

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Learn More About plume

Time Traveler for plume

Time Traveler

The first known use of plume was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near plume

plum duff


plume bird

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Statistics for plume

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Plume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for plume


\ ˈplüm How to pronounce plume (audio) \

Kids Definition of plume

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

Other Words from plume

plumed \ ˈplümd \ adjective a plumed cap

More from Merriam-Webster on plume

Nglish: Translation of plume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plume for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about plume


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