plume

noun
\ ˈplüm \

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

plume

verb
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

Noun

P plume 2a

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Earlier on Tuesday, a small explosion of ash erupted from the summit of the volcano in a vertical plume some 15,000 feet high, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the latest outburst in a month of volcanic activity. Jolyn Rosa, Anchorage Daily News, "Fast-moving lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano closes highway," 30 May 2018 With the power out and cooling systems failing, volatile organic peroxides exploded multiple times over the course of a week, producing towering pillars of fire and thick plumes of black smoke. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Arkema officials were warned of flood risks a year before Hurricane Harvey," 24 May 2018 Whether spewing from the ground in red plumes or crawling in a fiery blob across neighborhoods, lava from the Kilauea volcano has produced the most arresting images of the recent eruption. Washington Post, "Scientists study lava for clues to how volcano will behave," 16 May 2018 Officials declined to say what carcinogens might be in the smoke plume. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fire extinguished at Superior oil refinery after at least 20 were injured in explosions," 26 Apr. 2018 This puts a set of obstacles in the mantle plume’s way. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Missing hot mantle plume detected beneath Yellowstone," 21 Mar. 2018 Trucks rattle through military checkpoints in plumes of fine red dust. Bronwen Dickey, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Kids on the Line," 14 Mar. 2018 Particles in plumes of ash-clouds from such an eruption could scatter away red light, according to NASA. Melissa Chan, Time, "A Rare Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse That Hasn't Been Seen in 35 Years Is Coming Soon. Here's What You Need to Know," 10 Jan. 2018 And on Sunday, the same day as the Guatemala eruption, an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 also shook the island, sending ash plumes from the Kilauea summit that reached up to 8,000 feet. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Volcanoes in Guatemala, Hawaii and Indonesia Have Killed 62 and Cost the Economy Millions. Should We Expect More?," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ash plumes shooting thousands of feet into the sky from the summit have raised concerns about air quality. Heidi Chang, latimes.com, "Evacuations ordered in Hawaii as fast-moving lava threatens neighborhoods," 1 June 2018 Winds blew much of the 30,000-foot (9,100-meter) plume away from people. Fox News, "The Latest: No end in sight for Hawaii's erupting volcano," 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, NOLA.com, "I-10 east closed in St. Martin Parish after 18-wheeler crash: State Police," 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, "SpaceX launch last year punched huge, temporary hole in the ionosphere," 22 Mar. 2018 Heavy black smoke plumed from the building by the time fire crews arrived. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Fryer sparks overnight fire at Houston tofu maker's warehouse," 10 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of plume

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

History and Etymology for plume

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plume

Statistics for plume

Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plume

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plume

plume

noun

English Language Learners Definition of plume

: 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

noun
\ ˈplüm \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on plume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plume

Spanish Central: Translation of plume

Nglish: Translation of plume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plume for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about plume

Comments on plume

What made you want to look up plume? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to deny responsibility for

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!