white feather


Definition of white feather

: a mark or symbol of cowardice used chiefly in the phrase show the white feather

Examples of white feather in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their beaks and feet are bright red, and their bodies are covered in gray and white feathers with a cap of black feathers on their heads. Joel Sartore, National Geographic, 25 Feb. 2020 Turns out this most savage beast was covered with — believe it! — a soft coat of beige or white feathers. New York Times, 12 Mar. 2020 Covered in crystals and finished with a white feathered skirt, the homage became on of the most-talked-about turns of the night. Maria Ward, Vogue, 23 Apr. 2019 In the mid-morning sunlight, two bright yellow eyes stare forward, unblinking, framed by a brown and white feathered head that suddenly twitches in a cartoonish jolt, the eyes now appearing to be stacked on one another. Erin Stone, azcentral, 24 Mar. 2020 Turns out this most savage beast was covered with — believe it! — a soft coat of beige or white feathers. New York Times, 5 Mar. 2020 Magellanic penguins also have a stretch of white feathers that swoops down from each eye, joining to form a strap around the neck. National Geographic, 8 Feb. 2020 To match her white feathered gown, Hudgens wore her hair parted to the side with long waves down her back. Audrey Noble, Allure, 15 Jan. 2020 One seller, fernandthefawn, has a hanging wreath of white feathers with a leather strap for $62. Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'white 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 white feather

circa 1785, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for white feather

from the superstition that a white feather in the plumage of a gamecock is a mark of a poor fighter

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Time Traveler for white feather

Time Traveler

The first known use of white feather was circa 1785

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Dictionary Entries Near white feather

White Father

white feather

white fiber

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Statistics for white feather

Cite this Entry

“White feather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20feather. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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