[ feth-er-bed-ing ]
/ ˈfɛð ərˌbɛd ɪŋ /


the practice of requiring an employer to hire unnecessary employees, to assign unnecessary work, or to limit production according to a union rule or safety statute: Featherbedding forced the railroads to employ firemen on diesel locomotives.

Origin of featherbedding

First recorded in 1920–25; feather + bedding

Definition for featherbedding (2 of 2)

[ feth-er-bed ]
/ ˈfɛð ərˌbɛd /

verb (used with or without object), feath·er·bed·ded, feath·er·bed·ding.

to subject to or engage in featherbedding.

Origin of featherbed

First recorded in 1945–50; back formation from featherbedding
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for featherbedding

/ (ˈfɛðəˌbɛdɪŋ) /


the practice of limiting production, duplicating work, or overmanning, esp in accordance with a union contract, in order to prevent redundancies or create jobs
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

Cultural definitions for featherbedding


The practice of forcing an employer to hire more workers than are needed for a job.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.