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  1. a boxer or other contestant intermediate in weight between a bantamweight and a lightweight, especially a professional boxer weighing up to 126 pounds (57 kg).
  2. an insignificant person or thing: He thinks he's a major composer, but he's just a featherweight.
  1. belonging to the class of featherweights, especially in boxing.
  2. extremely light in weight: a featherweight quilt.
  3. unimportant; trifling; slight.

Origin of featherweight

First recorded in 1805–15; feather + weight
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for featherweight


    1. something very light or of little importance
    2. (as modifier)featherweight considerations
    1. a professional boxer weighing 118–126 pounds (53.5–57 kg)
    2. an amateur boxer weighing 54–57 kg (119–126 pounds)
    3. (as modifier)the featherweight challenger
  1. a wrestler in a similar weight category (usually 126–139 pounds (57–63 kg))
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for featherweight

also feather-weight, the lightest allowable, 1812 (earlier as simply feather, 1760), from feather (n.) + weight. Originally in horse-racing; boxing use dates from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper