2 Ornithology A bird’s down feather, numbers of which form an insulating layer under the contour feathers.
- The second group includes down feathers, or plumules, which are softer and shorter than contour feathers.
- Geese are larger than ducks so their down plumules are larger and typically geese from colder climates such as central and northern Europe have the largest plumules.
- (in sense 1).
Early 18th century: from French plumule or Latin plumula 'small feather', diminutive of pluma 'down'.
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