- The definition of a feather is one of the flat slender growths that cover the bodies of birds.
An example of a feather is what peacocks drop behind them when they molt.
A beautiful peacock feather.
feather definition by Webster's New World
- Zool. any of the growths covering the body of a bird or making up a large part of the wing surface, as down or contour feathers: a typical contour feather consists of a horny central shaft, partly hollow, from which light, soft, narrow barbs, with interlocking barbules and barbicels, extend to form a thin, flat surface
- a feather or featherlike part fastened to the shaft of an arrow to help control its flight
- anything like or suggesting a feather or feathers in appearance, lightness, etc., as
- a trifle
- a projecting part, esp. for fitting into a groove
- an irregular flaw in a gem
- the fringe of hair along the tail and along the back of the legs of some dogs
- attire; dress
- class; kind: enthusiasts of every feather
- frame of mind; temper; vein
- the act of feathering an oar or propeller
Origin: Middle English fether ; from OE; akin to German feder ; from Indo-European base an unverified form pet-, to fall, fly from source Classical Greek pteron, wing, piptein, Classical Latin petere, to fall, Sanskrit pátati, (he) flies
- to provide (an arrow, etc.) with a feather
- to cover, fit, or fringe with or as with feathers
- to give a featheredge to
- to join by inserting a wedge-shaped part into a groove
- to turn (the blade of an oar) parallel to the line of movement in recovering after a stroke, so as to offer the least resistance to air or water
- to turn (the blade of a propeller) on its shaft so that its leading and trailing edges are nearly parallel with the airplane's line of flight, thus preventing engine damage caused by airflow turning the propeller during an engine failure
- to change the angle of the blades of a helicopter rotor
- to grow, or become covered with, feathers
- to move, grow, or extend like feathers
- to look like feathers
- to feather an oar or propeller
- featherless adjective
feather definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- One of the light, flat growths forming the plumage of birds, consisting of numerous slender, closely arranged parallel barbs forming a vane on either side of a horny, tapering, partly hollow shaft.
- feathers Plumage.
- feathers Clothing; attire.
- A feathery tuft or fringe of hair, as on the legs or tail of some dogs.
- Character, kind, or nature: Birds of a feather flock together.
- Something small, trivial, or inconsequential.
- a. A strip, wedge, or flange used as a strengthening part.b. A wedge or key that fits into a groove to make a joint.
- The vane of an arrow.
- A feather-shaped flaw, as in a precious stone.
- The wake made by a submarine's periscope.
- The act of feathering the blade of an oar in rowing.
- To cover, dress, or decorate with or as if with feathers.
- To fit (an arrow) with a feather.
- a. To thin, reduce, or fringe the edge of by cutting, shaving, or wearing away.b. To shorten and taper (hair) by cutting and thinning.
- To connect with a tongue-and-groove joint.
- To turn (an oar blade) almost horizontal as it is carried back after each stroke.
- a. To alter the pitch of (a propeller) so that the chords of the blades are parallel with the line of flight.b. To alter the pitch of (the rotor of a helicoptor) while in forward flight.
- To turn off (an aircraft engine) while in flight.
- To grow feathers or become feathered.
- To move, spread, or grow in a manner suggestive of feathers.
- To feather an oar.
- To feather a propeller.
Origin: Middle English fether, from Old English; see pet- in Indo-European roots.
typical flight feather (left) and a magnified view of vanes (right)
feather - Phrases/Idioms
feather in one's cap
feather one's nest
feather in (one's) cap
feather (one's) nest
feather - Science Definition