See more synonyms for plume on
  1. a feather.
  2. a large, long, or conspicuous feather: the brilliant plume of a peacock.
  3. a soft, fluffy feather: the plume of an egret.
  4. any plumose part or formation.
  5. a feather, a tuft of feathers, or some substitute, worn as an ornament, as on a hat, helmet, etc.
  6. a feather or featherlike token of honor or distinction, especially one worn on a helmet.
  7. plumage.
  8. a vertically or longitudinally moving, rising, or expanding fluid body, as of smoke or water.
  9. a visible pattern of smoke resulting from emissions from a stack, flue, or chimney.
  10. Also called mantle plume. Geology. a deep-seated upwelling of magma within the earth's mantle.Compare diapir.
verb (used with object), plumed, plum·ing.
  1. to furnish, cover, or adorn with plumes or feathers.
  2. (of a bird) to preen (itself or its feathers).
  3. to feel complacent satisfaction with (oneself); pride (oneself) (often followed by on or upon): She sat before the mirror, pluming herself upon her beauty.

Origin of plume

1350–1400; earlier plome, plume, Middle English plume < Middle French < Latin plūma soft feather (> Old English plūm-, in plūmfether downy feather)
Related formsplume·less, adjectiveplume·like, adjectivere·plume, verb (used with object), re·plumed, re·plum·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plume

Contemporary Examples of plume

Historical Examples of plume

  • We are ashamed to own we are jealous, and yet we plume ourselves in having been and being able to be so.


    Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

  • She had not a sail aloft nor a plume of smoke in her funnel.

  • And you, Hermogenes, on what do you plume yourself most highly?

  • He wears a plume on his head, and does nothing but dance in the sunshine.

  • In fighting jacket and plume Jeb Stuart came into the light.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for plume


  1. a feather, esp one that is large or ornamental
  2. a feather or cluster of feathers worn esp formerly as a badge or ornament in a headband, hat, etc
  3. biology any feathery part, such as the structure on certain fruits and seeds that aids dispersal by wind
  4. something that resembles a plumea plume of smoke
  5. a token or decoration of honour; prize
  6. geology a rising column of hot, low viscosity material within the earth's mantle, which is believed to be responsible for linear oceanic island chains and flood basaltsAlso called: mantle plume
verb (tr)
  1. to adorn or decorate with feathers or plumes
  2. (of a bird) to clean or preen (itself or its feathers)
  3. (foll by on or upon) to pride or congratulate (oneself)
Derived Formsplumeless, adjectiveplumelike, adjective

Word Origin for plume

C14: from Old French, from Latin plūma downy feather
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 plume

late 14c., "a feather" (especially a large and conspicuous one), from Old French plume "soft feather, down; feather bed," and directly from Latin pluma "a feather, down; the first beard," from PIE root *pleus- "to pluck; a feather, fleece" (cf. Old English fleos "fleece"). Meaning "a long streamer of smoke, etc." is first attested 1878.


late 14c., "to pluck, strip," from plume (n.). From mid-15c. as "to adorn with plumes." Meaning "to dress the feathers" is from 1702. Related: Plumed; pluming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

plume in Science


  1. A feather, especially a large one.
  2. A body of magma that rises from the Earth's mantle into the crust.♦ If a plume rises to the Earth's surface, it erupts as lava. ♦ If it remains below the Earth's surface, it eventually solidifies into a body of rock known as a pluton.
  3. An area in air, water, soil, or rock containing pollutants released from a single source. A plume often spreads in the environment due to the action of wind, currents, or gravity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.