white feather

noun

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 bodies are covered with soft, white feathers; colored skin on their heads forms a black mask and red cap. Washington Post, "Louisiana’s whooping crane comeback: 5 chicks this year," 13 July 2018 Delicate and adorned with wispy white feathers that wouldn’t come cheap, this aigrette (the French word for egret) would rest atop the head of a rich and fashionable society figure. Angela Serratore, Smithsonian, "Keeping Feathers Off Hats–And On Birds," 15 May 2018 To make the humans happy, the screeching white feather balls got names. Tom Leyden, Indianapolis Star, "Whitehead and Webster, Downtown's new peregrine falcon bros," 5 June 2018 Never one to shy away from festive headpieces, Camilla also wore a cream hat covered in white feathers. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Camilla Parker Bowles Just Wore the Most Eccentric Hat We've Ever Seen," 16 May 2018 Kylie is making the look her own, as well, as the look was actually worn as a top (with a white feathered skirt) on the designer's spring runway. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Wore a Celine Dress in New York City," 9 May 2018 Hens with white feathers and white ear lobes lay white eggs. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Eggs: What you need to know about size, color and type," 22 Apr. 2018 The Snowy Owl sat silently in the marsh grass, its arctic white feathers fluffed up in the brisk winter wind, serenely observing us. Elizabeth Fletcher, Philly.com, "Personal Journey: Snowy Owl hotspot in N.J. at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge," 9 Mar. 2018 Its founder, Glastonbury native Henry Saglio, developed birds in the 1940s with the now-ubiquitous white feathers rather than red and gray. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "Peter Marteka: Falling For Flat Brook Falls And The Shenipsit Trail," 11 Mar. 2018

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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The first known use of white feather was circa 1785

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