Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The covering of feathers on a bird.
  • n. Feathers used ornamentally.
  • n. Elaborate dress; finery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Feathers, either covering a bird or used ornamentally
  • n. Finery or elaborate dress.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The entire clothing of a bird.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The feathery covering of birds; feathers collectively; ptilosis. See feather and pterylosis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the light horny waterproof structure forming the external covering of birds

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from plume, plume, from Latin plūma.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French plumage (14c.), itself from plume 'feather' (from Latin pluma, "feather, down", from a Proto-Indo-European base *pleus- "to pluck, a feather, fleece") + -age (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He also found that as Pileated Woodpeckers fly away from the camera, their plumage is hard to distinguish from the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • Terrestrial birds whose plumage is superficially similar to that of fuzzy small theropods are notorious for harbouring ectoparasites, with kiwis in particular being reported to crawl with numerous fleas, ticks, feather mites and lice (Kleinpaste 1991).

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • It is a land of supremely Graceful and refreshingly aromatic gum trees; a land of kaleidoscopic wild flower pageantry; of beautiful birds rich in plumage and song.

    Australia Looks Ahead

  • In Florida, cruel men shoot the mother bird. on their nests while they are rearing their young. because their plumage is prettiest at that time.

    Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography

  • The plumage is a deep slate grey, with a tinge towards bluish-purple, and a tuft of fine delicate feathers gives it its name of crown pigeon.

    Insulinde: Experiences of a Naturalist's Wife in the Eastern Archipelago

  • If the form to be worked necessitates radiation in the stitching, there results a texture something like the feathering of a bird's breast (Illustration 85), whence the name plumage-stitch, another term describing not so much a stitch as the use of a stitch.

    Art in Needlework A Book about Embroidery

  • The fish formed the main staple of their food, helped out by the birds, which were, for the most part, of the pigeon tribe, though larger and differing much in plumage from the English species.

    With Cochrane the Dauntless

  • These young males are identified by their plumage, which is predominantly red.

    Armageddon on the Streets

  • Sickness in birds may be diagnosed from their plumage, which is ruffled when they are sickly instead of lying smooth as when they are well.

    The History of Animals

  • His tail, barred in cinnamon and black, was almost as long again as his body and the rest of his plumage was a riot of gorgeous colour.

    The Seventh Scroll

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