Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A feathery tuft or fringe of hair, as on the legs or tail of some dogs.
  • noun Character, kind, or nature.
  • noun A strip, wedge, or flange used as a strengthening part.
  • noun A wedge or key that fits into a groove to make a joint.
  • noun The vane of an arrow.
  • noun A feather-shaped flaw, as in a precious stone.
  • noun The wake made by a submarine's periscope.
  • noun The act of feathering the blade of an oar in rowing.
  • intransitive verb To cover, dress, or decorate with feathers or featherlike projections.
  • intransitive verb To fit (an arrow) with a feather.
  • intransitive verb To thin, reduce, or fringe the edge of (wood, for example) by cutting, shaving, or making thinner.
  • intransitive verb To spread (paint, for example) thinly at the edges so as to blend with the surrounding area.
  • intransitive verb To shorten and taper (hair) by cutting and thinning.
  • intransitive verb To blur or soften the edge of (an image).
  • intransitive verb To apply (a brake, throttle, or other control) gently or slightly and steadily.
  • intransitive verb To turn (an oar blade) almost horizontal as it is carried back after each stroke.
  • intransitive verb To alter the pitch of (a propeller) so that the chords of the blades are parallel with the line of flight.
  • intransitive verb To alter the pitch of (the rotor of a helicopter) while in forward flight.
  • intransitive verb To turn off (an aircraft engine) while in flight.
  • intransitive verb To grow feathers or become feathered.
  • intransitive verb To move, spread, or grow in a manner suggestive of feathers.
  • intransitive verb To become thin or less dense at the edges.
  • intransitive verb To feather an oar.
  • intransitive verb To feather a propeller.
  • idiom (feather in (one's) cap) An act or deed to one's credit; a distinctive achievement.
  • idiom (feather (one's) nest) To grow wealthy by taking advantage of one's position or by making use of property or funds left in one's trust.
  • idiom (fine/good) /high) In excellent form, health, or humor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drop (melted metallic tin) into cold water, which has the effect of spreading it out with a feathery appearance.
  • To make a quivering movement of the tail: said of dogs.
  • noun In archery, a piece cut from one side of a feather, trimmed to the desired size and shape, and glued upon an arrow near the nock to improve its flight.
  • To cover with feathers; hence, to cover with something resembling feathers.
  • To adorn; enrich or advantage; exalt.
  • To fit with a feather or feathers, as an arrow.
  • To tread: said of a cock.
  • To join by tonguing and grooving, as boards.
  • In rowing, to turn the blade of (an oar) nearly horizontally, with the upper edge pointing toward the bow, as it leaves the water, so that the water runs off it in a feathery form, for the purpose of lessening the resistance of the air upon it, and decreasing the danger of catching the water as it is moved back into position for a new stroke.
  • To have or produce the appearance or form of a feather or feathers, as the ripples at the bow of a moving vessel. See feather-spray.
  • To be or become feathery in appearance; appear thin or feathery by contrast.
  • In rowing, to let the water drop off in a feathery spray, as the blade of an oar when turned nearly horizontally on leaving the water.
  • noun One of the epidermal appendages which together constitute the plumage, the peculiar covering of birds; also, collectively, the plumage.
  • noun Something in the form of a feather, or resembling nearly or remotely the standard of a feather; something made of feathers.
  • noun Specifically — A plume.
  • noun In founding, a thin rib cast on iron framing to strengthen it and resist bending or fracture.
  • noun A slip inserted longitudinally into a shaft or arbor, and projecting so as to fit a groove in the eye of a wheel.
  • noun One of two pieces of metal placed in a hole in a stone which is to be split, a wedge-shaped key or plug being driven between them for this purpose.
  • noun In joinery, a projection on the edge of a board which fits into a channel on the edge of another board, in the operation of joining boards by grooving and feathering, or grooving and tonguing, as it is more commonly called.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English fether, from Old English; see pet- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fether, from Old English feþer, from Proto-Germanic *feþrō, from Proto-Indo-European *péth₂r̥ ~ pth₂én- (“feather, wing”), from *peth₂- (“to fly”). The Indo-European root is also the source of Greek πέτομαι (pétomai), Albanian shpend ("bird"), Latin penna, Old Armenian թիռ (tʿiṙ).

Examples

  • It was very dark, and I knew that as our sails were set, and we bore from her, it would be difficult for her to keep us in sight, as we only presented what we call the feather-edge of our sails to her.

    The Privateer's-Man One hundred Years Ago

  • It was very dark, and I knew that as our sails were set, and we bore from her, it would be difficult for her to keep us in sight, as we only presented what we call the feather-edge of our sails to her.

    The Privateersman

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

  • Com that the rancorous debate over the future of this seemingly innocuous civic cub catering to foreign airheads has taken a decidedly nasty turn and I´m beginning to wonder just where this anachronistic club in last feather is heading except into the mire.

    The Lake Chapala Society

Comments

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  • Nothing is heavier than lead.

    Feathers are heavier than nothing.

    Therefore feathers are heavier than lead.

    (after all, two pounds of feathers weigh more than one pound of lead, right?)

    From The Futility Closet.com

    July 14, 2008

  • The World in a Feather

    As composed by Refenestration

    The simplicity: the complexity

    The unity: the division

    The regularity: the spontaneity

    The dependence: the freedom

    The power: the vulnerability

    The plebeian: the praetorian

    The mystery: the understanding

    The diversity: the oneness

    The love: the hate

    The unknown: the discovered

    November 27, 2009

  • "8. On a horse, a sort of natural frizzling of the hair, which in some places rises above the smooth coat, and makes a figure resembling the tip of an ear of wheat." --Cent. Dict.

    May 10, 2011

  • You mean, like this:

    May 10, 2011

  • That is one odd-looking horse.

    May 11, 2011