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See more synonyms for featherbedding on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
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Origin of featherbedding

First recorded in 1920–25; feather + bedding


verb (used with or without object), feath·er·bed·ded, feath·er·bed·ding.
  1. to subject to or engage in featherbedding.
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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. 2018

Related Words for featherbedding

abate, decrease, diminish, dodge, dwindle, ease, flag, idle, lax, lessen, loose, moderate, neglect, reduce, relax, release, shirk, taper, tire, wane

British Dictionary definitions for featherbedding


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

featherbedding in Culture


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

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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.