[ feth-er-ing ]
/ ˈfɛð ər ɪŋ /


a covering of feathers; plumage.
the arrangement of feathers on an arrow.
Music. a very light and delicate use of the violin bow.

Origin of feathering

First recorded in 1520–30; feather + -ing1


un·der·feath·er·ing, noun

Definition for feathering (2 of 2)

Origin of feather

before 900; Middle English, Old English fether; cognate with Dutch veder, German Feder, Old Norse fjǫthr; akin to Greek pterón, Sanskrit pátram wing, feather


feath·er·less, adjectivefeath·er·less·ness, nounfeath·er·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for feathering

British Dictionary definitions for feathering (1 of 2)

/ (ˈfɛðərɪŋ) /


the plumage of a bird; feathers
another word for feathers (def. 2)
  1. an imperfection in print caused by the spreading of ink
  2. the use of additional space between lines in typesetting in order to fill the page

British Dictionary definitions for feathering (2 of 2)

/ (ˈfɛðə) /



See also feathers

Derived forms of feather

featherless, adjectivefeather-like, adjectivefeathery, adjective

Word Origin for feather

Old English fether; related to Old Frisian fethere, Old Norse fjöthr feather, Old High German fedara wing, Greek petesthai to fly, Sanskrit patati he flies
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

Science definitions for feathering

[ fĕðər ]

One of the light, flat structures that cover the skin of birds. A feather is made of a horny substance and has a narrow, hollow shaft bearing flat vanes formed of many parallel barbs. The barbs of outer feathers are formed of even smaller structures (called barbules) that interlock. The barbs of down feathers do not interlock. Evolutionarily, feathers are modified scales, first seen in certain dinosaurs.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with feathering


In addition to the idioms beginning with feather

  • feather in one's cap, a
  • feather one's nest

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.