Definition of feather in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfeT͟Hər/


1Any of the flat appendages growing from a bird’s skin and forming its plumage, consisting of a partly hollow horny shaft fringed with vanes of barbs.
Example sentences
  • When the color of the landscape changes, females shed their white plumage as brown replacement feathers grow in.
  • But the creature's most unusual feature was a set of long, asymmetric feathers with hooked barbs on its hind limbs and forelimbs.
  • Primary wing feathers create the flight surface, thus allowing birds to fly.
plume, quill, flight feather, tail feather;
Ornithology  covert, plumule;
(feathersplumage, feathering, down
1.1One of the feathers or featherlike vanes fastened to the shaft of an arrow or a dart.
Example sentences
  • The notch behind each arrow's feather fits neatly into the bow string.
  • These arrows have over-large feathers wrapped around the shaft and will slow to a stop within a short distance due to wind drag.
  • Nicola reached the stall with the green flags, and found a girl about her age attaching feathers to arrows, stopping momentarily to survey her work.
1.2 (feathers) A fringe of long hair on the legs of a dog, horse, or other animal.
Example sentences
  • Use a pin brush or slicker brush in the feathers to separate the hair and to remove tangles.
1.3A small side branch on a tree.


1 [with object] Rotate the blades of (a propeller) about their own axes in such a way as to lessen the air or water resistance.
Example sentences
  • A fire erupted in the starboard engine and the pilot was unable to feather the propeller.
  • He shut down the engine, feathered the propeller and entered a power-off emergency descent.
  • Ken shut down the engine and feathered the propeller while Bob returned to his turret.
1.1Vary the angle of attack of (rotor blades).
Example sentences
  • Orbiting over the airport, he undertook a series of flight tests which included stalls, feathering and restarting each engine, and a beat-up on the field.
  • Flames were roaring out of the left nacelle as Hart pulled the fire bottles, yanked the throttle back, and feathered the prop.
1.2 Rowing Turn (an oar) so that it passes through the air edgewise: he turned, feathering one oar slowly
More example sentences
  • The others, even the ones who had never rowed before this day, feathered their oars like pros and smiled like kids in the candy store.
2 [no object] Float, move, or wave like a feather: the green fronds feathered against a blue sky
More example sentences
  • Twigs and leaves, from overgrown bushes - half hung in the road - bashed and feathered against his clothes.
2.1 [with object] Touch (someone or something) very lightly.
Example sentences
  • Granite - a single slab, unbroken and unmarred, smoothed by sun and rain, hugged by trees where it met surrounding the cliff, with fern and moss feathering it as it touched the pool's edge.
  • He had incredible touch and eye, feathering the ball one moment, punching it away the next.
3 [with object] Shorten or taper the hair by cutting or trimming: my sister had her hair feathered
More example sentences
  • Her feathered, honey-blond hair is splayed around her, her lips are glossy, and her white halter dress and heels present a doll-like plasticity.
  • She had short, feathered, auburn hair with black streaks.
  • A pretty news anchor woman was stood on the Creek pier, microphone in hand and her blond hair nicely feathered.



a feather in one's cap

An achievement to be proud of.
Example sentences
  • ‘That's a feather in your cap,’ someone told me today.
  • ‘It's a feather in your cap when you are asked to be captain, especially by someone like Paul Broadbent,’ he said.
  • It's a bit of a feather in their cap if they can keep him quiet because he's run riot this season.

feather one's (own) nest

Make money illicitly and at someone else’s expense.
Example sentences
  • I don't mind that he may have feathered his nest (after all we live in a capitalist society where feathering nests is the be all and end all).
  • A whole bunch of so called scientists, lawyers and, most important, politicians, have taken it over in the meantime to feather their own nest.
  • The people simply don't believe that politics has much changed, and regard the entire lot of politicians as corrupt species out to feather their own nest.

(as) light as a feather

Extremely light and insubstantial.
Example sentences
  • After a full massage, including my stomach, I felt absolutely wonderful - light as a feather.
  • The thing does a good job, and it's as light as a feather.
  • Yesterday I had trouble lifting a bucket of sand that two weekends ago was as light as a feather.



Pronunciation: /ˈfeT͟Hərləs/
Example sentences
  • Using artificial insemination, they propagated offspring that would produce both feathered and featherless broilers that would grow to comparable size in the same length of time.
  • On the other hand, featherless chickens tend to be more susceptible to parasites and other problems and, in previous attempts to create featherless chickens, the males have been unable to mate.
  • It was featherless, but stood a foot tall on spindly jointed legs; its face was avian but - like the body - fat and dotted with patchy, moulting orange fur.


Old English fether, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin penna 'feather' and Greek pteron 'wing'.

Words that rhyme with feather

altogether, heather, leather, nether, tether, together, weather, wether, whether

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: feath·er

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