Definitions

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

  • n. An ornamental tuft of upright plumes, especially the tail feathers of an egret.
  • n. An ornament, such as a spray of gems, resembling a tuft of plumes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The lesser white heron; the egret.
  • n. A feather or plume, or feather-shaped item, used as an adornment or ornament.
  • n. The feathery crown of some seeds (such as the dandelion)

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

  • n. a long plume (especially one of egret feathers) worn on a hat or a piece of jewelry in the shape of a plume

Etymologies

French, egret, from Old French; see egret.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French aigrette ‘egret’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The aigrette, which is a sort of artificial plume, or feather, represents a hand with thirteen fingers, covered with diamonds; allusive to the thirteen ships taken and destroyed by the hero: and it's size is that of a child's hand, at the age of five or six years, when open.

    The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson

  • -- These unfortunate birds, cursed for all time by the commercially valuable "aigrette" plumes that they bear, have had a very narrow escape from total extinction in the United States, despite all the efforts made to save them.

    Our Vanishing Wild Life Its Extermination and Preservation

  • Cruelty of "aigrette" hunters of albatross killers

    Our Vanishing Wild Life Its Extermination and Preservation

  • In her hair was a diamond aigrette, and around her neck, a pearl dog collar.

    The Presidential Inauguration | Edwardian Promenade

  • As for her mother, a photograph of her in a satin dress, with a tight-fitting waist, her arms and her hair strewn with black pearls, and an aigrette on her forehead, suggests the desire for approval that she sought in the palaces and gambling rooms: she wished other people to gaze at her apart from her husband, who sparkled with intelligence and determination rather than lust.

    'The Life of Irene Nemirovsky'

  • They shook the turban from his head and, deftly holding the aigrette in place, fingered the folds of cloth.

    Shadow Princess

  • His greatest worry was that the egret feather Bapa had given him two days ago—to plume in the pearl aigrette on his turban—would be in a sad state of drooping.

    Shadow Princess

  • His qaba and the wrapping of his turban were silk; there were diamonds in his aigrette, pearls around his neck and on his hands, diamonds glittering on the broad cummerbund around his waist, just visible to the men standing below through the stone railing of the balcony ledge.

    Shadow Princess

  • Her throat and arms were loaded with chains and bracelets, and her turban, formed of a shawl similar to that worn around her waist, was decorated by a magnificent aigrette, from which a blue ostrich plume flowed in one direction, and a red one in another.

    The Surgeon's Daughter

  • It was an aigrette, or plume, composed of two feathers of a vulture, fastened together by an opal, which changed to the changing light with a variability which enchanted the Swiss damsel, who had never seen anything resembling it in her life.

    Anne of Geierstein

Comments

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  • "...bringing the old gentleman aboard without a feather of the splendid aigrette in his turban being ruffled."
    —Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 294

    See also chelengk.

    February 14, 2008