white feather
noun Etymology: from the superstition that a white feather in the plumage of a gamecock is a mark of a poor fighter Date: circa 1785 a mark or symbol of cowardice — used chiefly in the phrase show the white feather

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • White feather — White White (hw[imac]t), a. [Compar. {Whiter} (hw[imac]t [ e]r); superl. {Whitest}.] [OE. whit, AS. hw[imac]t; akin to OFries. and OS. hw[=i]t, D. wit, G. weiss, OHG. w[=i]z, hw[=i]z, Icel. hv[=i]tr, Sw. hvit, Dan. hvid, Goth. hweits, Lith.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • white feather — ► NOUN ▪ a white feather given to someone as a sign that they are considered a coward. ORIGIN with reference to a white feather in the tail of a game bird, being a mark of bad breeding …   English terms dictionary

  • white feather — n. [from the notion that a white feather in a gamecock s tail shows bad breeding, hence cowardice] an indication of cowardice: chiefly in show the white feather …   English World dictionary

  • white feather — as a symbol of cowardice, 1785, supposedly from game cocks, where having a white feather, is proof he is not of the true game breed [Grose] …   Etymology dictionary

  • white feather — If someone shows a white feather, they are cowards …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • White feather — A white feather is sometimes given as a mark of cowardice. A white feather has been a traditional symbol of cowardice, used and recognised especially within the British Army and in countries associated with the British Empire since the 18th… …   Wikipedia

  • White Feather — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Die weiße Feder Originaltitel: White Feather Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1955 Länge: 102 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • white feather — Chiefly Brit. 1. a symbol of cowardice. 2. show the white feather, to behave in a cowardly manner. [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] * * * …   Universalium

  • white feather — n. symbol of cowardice to show the white feather * * * [ symbol of cowardice ] to show the white feather …   Combinatory dictionary

  • white feather — noun a white feather given to someone as a sign that they are considered a coward. Origin C18: with ref. to a white feather in the tail of a game bird, being a mark of bad breeding …   English new terms dictionary

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