What does feather mean?

Definitions for feather
ˈfɛð ərfeath·er

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word feather.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. feather, plume, plumagenoun

    the light horny waterproof structure forming the external covering of birds

  2. feather, featheringverb

    turning an oar parallel to the water between pulls

  3. featherverb

    join tongue and groove, in carpentry

  4. featherverb

    cover or fit with feathers

  5. feather, squareverb

    turn the paddle; in canoeing

  6. feather, squareverb

    turn the oar, while rowing

  7. fledge, featherverb

    grow feathers

    "The young sparrows are fledging already"


  1. feathernoun

    A branching, hair-like structure that grows on the wings of birds that allows their wings to create lift.

  2. feathernoun

    Long hair on lower legs of heavier horses, especially draft horses, notably the Clydesdale breed. Narrowly only the rear hair.

  3. featherverb

    To cover with feathers.

  4. featherverb

    To arrange in the manner or appearance of feathers.

    The stylist feathered my hair.

  5. featherverb

    To rotate the oars while they are out of the water to reduce wind resistance.

  6. featherverb

    To streamline the blades of an aircraft's propeller by rotating them perpendicular to the axis of the propeller when the engine is shut down so that the propeller doesn't windmill as the aircraft flies.

    After striking the bird, the pilot feathered the left, damaged engine's propeller.

  7. featherverb

    To finely shave or bevel an edge.

  8. featherverb

    To intergrade or blend the pixels of an image with those of a background or neighboring image.

  9. Etymology: From fether, from feþer, from feþrō, from peta-. The Indo-European root is also the source of Greek πέτεσθαι, πτῶσις, shpend, Latin penna, Old Armenian թիռ. Celtic *petno- (Old Irish én, Breton ein ‘bird’).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. FEATHERnoun

    Etymology: feðer, Saxon; feder, German.

    Look, as I blow this feather from my face. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    The brave eagle does with sorrow see
    The forest wasted, and that lofty tree,
    Which holds her nest, about to be o’erthrown,
    Before the feathers of her young are grown;
    She will not leave them, nor she cannot stay,
    But bears them boldly on her wings away. Edmund Waller.

    When a man in the dark presses either corner of his eye with his finger, and turns his eye away from his finger, he will see a circle of colours like those in the feathers of a peacock’s tail. Isaac Newton, Opt.

    I am bright as an angel, and light as a feather. Jonathan Swift.

    The proud insulting queen,
    With Clifford and the haught Northumberland,
    And of their feather many more proud birds,
    Have wrought the easy-melting king, like wax. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    I am not of that feather to shake off
    My friend, when he most needs me. William Shakespeare, Timon.

  2. To Featherverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Dame Partlet was the sovereign of his heart;
    Ardent in love, outrageous in his play,
    He feather’d her a hundred times a day. Dryden.

    They stuck not to say, that the king cared not to plume his nobility and people, to feather himself. Francis Bacon, Henry VII.


  1. Feather

    Feathers are epidermal growths that form a distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on both avian (bird) and some non-avian dinosaurs and other archosaurs. They are the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates and a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They are among the characteristics that distinguish the extant birds from other living groups.Although feathers cover most of the bird's body, they arise only from certain well-defined tracts on the skin. They aid in flight, thermal insulation, and waterproofing. In addition, coloration helps in communication and protection. Plumology (or plumage science) is the name for the science that is associated with the study of feathers.Feathers have a number of utilitarian, cultural, and religious uses. Feathers are both soft and excellent at trapping heat; thus, they are sometimes used in high-class bedding, especially pillows, blankets, and mattresses. They are also used as filling for winter clothing and outdoor bedding, such as quilted coats and sleeping bags. Goose and eider down have great loft, the ability to expand from a compressed, stored state to trap large amounts of compartmentalized, insulating air. Feathers of large birds (most often geese) have been and are used to make quill pens. Historically, the hunting of birds for decorative and ornamental feathers has endangered some species and helped to contribute to the extinction of others. Today, feathers used in fashion and in military headdresses and clothes are obtained as a waste product of poultry farming, including chickens, geese, turkeys, pheasants, and ostriches. These feathers are dyed and manipulated to enhance their appearance, as poultry feathers are naturally often dull in appearance compared to the feathers of wild birds.


  1. feather

    A feather is a structure that forms the outer covering of a bird's body, designed for flight, insulation, and display. It is a complex integumentary structure made up of interlocking keratin structures, typically characterized by a central shaft (rachis) with a series of vanes or barbs branching out on both sides. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, depending on the species of bird.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Feathernoun

    one of the peculiar dermal appendages, of several kinds, belonging to birds, as contour feathers, quills, and down

  2. Feathernoun

    kind; nature; species; -- from the proverbial phrase, "Birds of a feather," that is, of the same species

  3. Feathernoun

    the fringe of long hair on the legs of the setter and some other dogs

  4. Feathernoun

    a tuft of peculiar, long, frizzly hair on a horse

  5. Feathernoun

    one of the fins or wings on the shaft of an arrow

  6. Feathernoun

    a longitudinal strip projecting as a fin from an object, to strengthen it, or to enter a channel in another object and thereby prevent displacement sidwise but permit motion lengthwise; a spline

  7. Feathernoun

    a thin wedge driven between the two semicylindrical parts of a divided plug in a hole bored in a stone, to rend the stone

  8. Feathernoun

    the angular adjustment of an oar or paddle-wheel float, with reference to a horizontal axis, as it leaves or enters the water

  9. Featherverb

    to furnish with a feather or feathers, as an arrow or a cap

  10. Featherverb

    to adorn, as with feathers; to fringe

  11. Featherverb

    to render light as a feather; to give wings to

  12. Featherverb

    to enrich; to exalt; to benefit

  13. Featherverb

    to tread, as a cock

  14. Featherverb

    to grow or form feathers; to become feathered; -- often with out; as, the birds are feathering out

  15. Featherverb

    to curdle when poured into another liquid, and float about in little flakes or "feathers;" as, the cream feathers

  16. Featherverb

    to turn to a horizontal plane; -- said of oars

  17. Featherverb

    to have the appearance of a feather or of feathers; to be or to appear in feathery form

  18. Etymology: [OE. fether, AS. feer; akin to D. veder, OHG. fedara, G. feder, Icel. fjr, Sw. fjder, Dan. fjder, Gr. ptero`n wing, feather, pe`tesqai to fly, Skr. pattra wing, feather, pat to fly, and prob. to L. penna feather, wing. 76, 248. Cf. Pen a feather.]


  1. Feather

    Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They are among the characteristics that distinguish the extant Aves from other living groups. Feathers have also been noticed in those Theropoda which have been termed feathered dinosaurs. Although feathers cover most parts of the body of birds, they arise only from certain well-defined tracts on the skin. They aid in flight, thermal insulation, waterproofing and coloration that helps in communication and protection.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Feather

    feth′ėr, n. one of the growths which form the covering of a bird: a feather-like ornament: the feathered end of an arrow: nature, kind, as in 'birds of a feather:' birds collectively: anything light or trifling.—v.t. to furnish or adorn with feathers.—ns. Feath′er-bed, a mattress filled with feathers; Feath′er-board′ing (same as Weather-boarding, q.v.).—p.adj. Feath′ered, covered or fitted with feathers, or anything feather-like: like the flight of a feathered animal, swift: smoothed as with feathers.—ns. Feath′er-edge, an edge of a board or plank thinner than the other edge; Feath′er-grass, a perennial grass, so called from the feathery appearance of its awns; Feath′er-head, Feath′er-brain, a frivolous person; Feath′eriness; Feath′ering, plumage: the fitting of feathers to arrows: (archit.) an arrangement of small arcs or foils separated by projecting cusps, frequently forming the feather-like ornament on the inner mouldings of arches; Feath′er-star, a crinoid of feathery appearance and radiate structure; Feath′er-weight, the lightest weight that may be carried by a racing-horse: a boxer, wrestler, &c., of a class below the light-weights—hence one of small importance or ability.—adj. Feath′ery, pertaining to, resembling, or covered with feathers.—Feather an oar, to turn the blade of the oar horizontally as it comes out of the water, thus lessening the resistance of the air; Feather one's nest, to accumulate wealth for one's self while serving others in a position of trust.—A feather in one's cap, some striking mark of distinction; Be in high feather, to be greatly elated or in high spirits; Make the feathers fly, to throw into confusion by a sudden attack; Show the white feather, to show signs of cowardice—a white feather in a gamecock's tail being considered as a sign of degeneracy. [A.S. feðer; Ger. feder; L. penna, Gr. pteron.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. feather

    (See SWINE'S or SWEDISH FEATHER.) It is used variously. (See also FULL FEATHER and WHITE FEATHER.)

Editors Contribution

  1. feather

    A facet of the body of a bird.

    The birds feathers are amazing to feel and see.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 16, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. feather

    Song lyrics by feather -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by feather on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Feather is ranked #11719 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Feather surname appeared 2,674 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Feather.

    84.4% or 2,259 total occurrences were White.
    9.6% or 258 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    2.5% or 68 total occurrences were Black.
    1.5% or 42 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.3% or 35 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.4% or 12 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'feather' in Nouns Frequency: #2595

Anagrams for feather »

  1. feareth

  2. terefah

How to pronounce feather?

How to say feather in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of feather in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of feather in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of feather in a Sentence

  1. Nicholas Heras:

    Major non-NATO status is a real feather in the cap of many nations... in a sense it would essentially cement the US as the guarantor of Saudi security for forseeable future, it would put down on paper what has been the gentleman's agreement.

  2. Helen Keller:

    As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.

  3. Edith Newbold Jones Wharton:

    Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.

  4. Juan Boston:

    I ’m 58, and in my life, I have received one eagle feather, when you see some people wearing one jumping around like a monkey yelling like an idiot, it is disrespectful to our culture.

  5. Chinese Proverb:

    Listen to all, plucking a feather from every passing goose, but, follow no one absolutely.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for feather

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for feather »


Find a translation for the feather definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"feather." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/feather>.

Discuss these feather definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for feather? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    worthy of reliance or trust
    • A. profound
    • B. plush
    • C. suspicious
    • D. dependable

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for feather: