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[feth -er-bed] /ˈfɛð ərˌbɛd/
verb (used with or without object), featherbedded, featherbedding.
to subject to or engage in featherbedding.
Origin of featherbed
First recorded in 1945-50; back formation from featherbedding Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for featherbed
Historical Examples
  • I have heard of one who used to get into the middle of a featherbed.

    Expository Writing Mervin James Curl
  • Coming home it was a gorgeous winter's night on the featherbed Mountain.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • I have a piece of mutton and a featherbed for you at all times; I pray make haste.

  • A bit of straw matting, laid over a featherbed, and covered with the under sheet, makes a very cool bed for an infant.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher
  • It is, indeed, from no featherbed journey or carpet-knight's tour that Mr Coke has recently returned.

  • A simple strip of broad straw matting, spread over a featherbed, answers the same purpose.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher
  • Nothing is more debilitating, than, in warm weather, to sleep with a featherbed pressing round the greater part of the body.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher
  • Return to his bedroom, throw off the clothes, beat the featherbed, see that the fustian and sheets are clean.

  • After such a galvanic shock, I could have found, if that had been my need, a featherbed on the Arc de l'toile.

    Home Fires in France Dorothy Canfield
  • She had the featherbed temperament, and soothed masculine nerves exacerbated by the cruel exigencies of art.

    Unicorns James Huneker
Slang definitions & phrases for featherbed



  1. To work languidly and sluggishly; seek easy tasks
  2. To create or retain unnecessary jobs; do essentially fictitious jobs: featherbedding clauses in labor agreements (1920s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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