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).
an insignificant person or thing: He thinks he's a major composer, but he's just a featherweight.


belonging to the class of featherweights, especially in boxing.
extremely light in weight: a featherweight quilt.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for featherweight

Contemporary Examples of featherweight

  • These featherweight savory gruyere-laced pastries are ubiquitous in Burgundy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Burgundy Wine Feast

    Sophie Menin

    July 4, 2010

  • Kitamura, a featherweight at most, might seem a awkward messenger for the material.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How to Fight Like a Girl

    Will Doig

    August 19, 2009

Historical Examples of featherweight

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
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