verb (used with object)
- to change the blade angle of (a propeller) so that the chords of the blades are approximately parallel to the line of flight.
- to turn off (an engine) while in flight.
verb (used without object)
Origin of feather
- a bird's feather or artificial substitute fitted to an arrow to direct its flight
- the feathered end of an arrow, opposite the head
Word Origin for feather
Old English feðer "feather," in plural, "wings," from Proto-Germanic *fethro (cf. Old Saxon fethara, Old Norse fioþr, Swedish fjäder, Middle Dutch vedere, Dutch veder, Old High German fedara, German Feder), from PIE *pet-ra-, from root *pet- "to rush, to fly" (see petition (n.)). Feather-headed "silly" is from 1640s. Feather duster attested by 1858. Figurative use of feather in (one's) cap attested by 1734.
Old English fiðerian "to furnish with feathers or wings," from feðer (see feather (n.)). Meaning "to fit (an arrow) with feathers" is from early 13c.; that of "to deck, adorn, or provide with plumage" is from late 15c. In reference to oars (later paddles, propellers, etc.) from 1740. Phrase feather one's nest "enrich oneself" is from 1580s. Related: Feathered; feathering.
feather one's nest
Acquire wealth for oneself, especially by taking advantage of one's position or using the property of others. For example, Bill's many profitable consulting assignments enabled him to feather his nest quite comfortably. This expression alludes to birds making a soft nest for their eggs. [Mid-1500s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with feather
- feather in one's cap, a
- feather one's nest
- birds of a feather
- fuss and feathers
- in fine feather
- knock down with a feather
- light as a feather
- make the dust (feathers) fly
- ruffle someone's feathers
- show the white feather
- tar and feather