in fine feather


one of the horny structures forming the principal covering of birds, consisting typically of a hard, tubular portion attached to the body and tapering into a thinner, stemlike portion bearing a series of slender, barbed processes that interlock to form a flat structure on each side.
kind; character; nature: two boys of the same feather.
something like a feather, as a tuft or fringe of hair.
something very light, small, or trivial: Your worry is a mere feather.
Archery. one of the vanes at the tail of an arrow or dart.
Carpentry. a spline for joining the grooved edges of two boards.
Masonry. See under plug and feathers.
a featherlike flaw, especially in a precious stone.
Machinery, feather key.
Archaic. attire.
Obsolete, plumage.
verb (used with object)
to provide with feathers, as an arrow.
to clothe or cover with or as with feathers.
Rowing. to turn (an oar) after a stroke so that the blade becomes nearly horizontal, and hold it thus as it is moved back into position for the next stroke.
to change the blade angle of (a propeller) so that the chords of the blades are approximately parallel to the line of flight.
to turn off (an engine) while in flight.
verb (used without object)
to grow feathers.
to be or become feathery in appearance.
to move like feathers.
Rowing. to feather an oar.
Verb phrases
feather into, South Midland U.S. to attack (a person, task, or problem) vigorously.
a feather in one's cap, a praiseworthy accomplishment; distinction; honor: Being chosen class president is a feather in her cap.
birds of a feather. bird ( def 15 ).
feather one's nest, to take advantage of the opportunities to enrich oneself: The mayor had used his term of office to feather his nest.
in fine / high feather, in good form, humor, or health: feeling in fine feather.
ruffle someone's feathers, to anger, upset, or annoy (another person).
smooth one's ruffled / rumpled feathers, to regain one's composure; become calm: After the argument, we each retired to our own rooms to smooth our ruffled feathers.

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

featherless, adjective
featherlessness, noun
featherlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
feather (ˈfɛðə)
1.  any of the flat light waterproof epidermal structures forming the plumage of birds, each consisting of a hollow shaft having a vane of barbs on either side. They are essential for flight and help maintain body temperature
2.  something resembling a feather, such as a tuft of hair or grass
3.  archery
 a.  a bird's feather or artificial substitute fitted to an arrow to direct its flight
 b.  the feathered end of an arrow, opposite the head
4.  a strip, spline, or tongue of wood fitted into a groove
5.  the wake created on the surface of the water by the raised periscope of a submarine
6.  rowing Compare square the position of an oar turned parallel to the water between strokes
7.  a step in ballroom dancing in which a couple maintain the conventional hold but dance side by side
8.  condition of spirits; fettle: in fine feather
9.  something of negligible value; jot: I don't care a feather
10.  birds of a feather people of the same type, character, or interests
11.  feather in one's cap a cause for pleasure at one's achievements: your promotion is a feather in your cap
12.  (Irish) not take a feather out of someone, not knock a feather out of someone to fail to upset or injure someone: it didn't take a feather out of him
13.  (tr) to fit, cover, or supply with feathers
14.  rowing Compare square to turn (an oar) parallel to the water during recovery between strokes, principally in order to lessen wind resistance
15.  (in canoeing) to turn (a paddle) parallel to the direction of the canoe between strokes, while keeping it in the water, principally in order to move silently
16.  to change the pitch of (an aircraft propeller) so that the chord lines of the blades are in line with the airflow
17.  (tr) to join (two boards) by means of a tongue-and-groove joint
18.  (intr) (of a bird) to grow feathers
19.  (intr) to move or grow like feathers
20.  feather one's nest to provide oneself with comforts, esp financial
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. feðer "feather," in pl., "wings," from Gmc. *fethro (cf. O.N. fjöðr, M.Du. vedere, Ger. Feder), from PIE *petra-, zero degree *ptera- "wing, feather," from base *pet- "to rush, to fly" (see petition). Feather-headed "silly" is from 1640s. Feather-weight,
the lightest allowable, is first recorded 1812, originally in horse-racing; boxing use dates from 1889.

to furnish with wings, O.E. fiðerian; see feather (n.). Meaning to fit (an arrow) with feathers is from early 13c.; that of to deck, adorn, or provide with plumage is from late 15c. In reference to oars (later paddles, propellers, etc.) from 1740. Phrase feather ones
nest enrich oneself is from 1580s. Related: Feathered; feathering.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
feather   (fě'ər)  Pronunciation Key 

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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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

in fine feather

Also, in good or high feather. In excellent form, health, or humor. For example, He was in fine feather, joking with all his visitors. These expressions all allude to a bird's healthy plumage, a usage dating from the late 1500s and no longer very common.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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