Etymology: Middle English fether, from Old English; akin to Old High German federa wing, Latin petere to go to, seek, Greek petesthai to fly, piptein to fall, pteron wing
Date: before 12th century
a. any of the light horny epidermal outgrowths that form the external covering of the body of birds and that consist of a shaft bearing on each side a series of barbs which bear barbules which in turn bear barbicels commonly ending in hooked hamuli and interlocking with the barbules of an adjacent barb to link the barbs into a continuous vane
b. archaic plume 2a
c. the vane of an arrow
b. kind, nature <birds of a feather flock together> c. attire, dress d. condition, mood <woke up in fine feather> e. plural composure <some feathers had been ruffled — D. J. Blum> 3. feathering 2 4. a projecting strip, rib, fin, or flange 5. a feathery flaw in the eye or in a precious stone 6. the act of feathering an oar • feathered adjective • featherless adjective II. verb (feathered; feathering) Date: 13th century transitive verb 1. a. to furnish (as an arrow) with a feather b. to cover, clothe, or adorn with or as if with feathers 2. a. to turn (an oar blade) almost horizontal when lifting from the water at the end of a stroke to reduce air resistance b. (1) to change the angle of (airplane propeller blades) so that the chords become approximately parallel to the line of flight; also to change the angle of airplane propeller blades of (an engine) in such a manner (2) to change the angle of (a rotor blade of a rotorcraft) periodically in forward flight 3. to reduce the edge of to a featheredge 4. to cut (as air) with or as if with a wing 5. to join by a tongue and groove 6. to hit, throw, pass, or shoot softly and usually with precision <feathered a perfect lob over the net> intransitive verb 1. to grow or form feathers 2. to have or take on the appearance of a feather or something feathered 3. to soak in and spread ; blur — used of ink or a printed impression 4. to feather an oar or an airplane propeller blade
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.