white feather


noun Chiefly British.

a symbol of cowardice.

Idioms

    show the white feather, to behave in a cowardly manner.

Origin of white feather

First recorded in 1775–85; orig. from a white feather in a gamecock's tail, taken as a sign of inferior breeding and hence of poor fighting qualities
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for white feather

British Dictionary definitions for white feather

white feather


noun

a symbol or mark of cowardice
show the white feather to act in a cowardly manner

Word Origin for white feather

from the belief that a white feather in a gamecock's tail was a sign of a poor fighter
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

Idioms and Phrases with white feather

white feather


see show the white feather.

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