white feather

(redirected from White Feathers)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to White Feathers: Michaels

white feather

n.
A sign of cowardice.
Idiom:
show the white feather
To act like a coward.

[From the belief that a gamecock with a white feather in its tail was a poor fighter.]

white feather

n
1. a symbol or mark of cowardice
2. show the white feather to act in a cowardly manner
[from the belief that a white feather in a gamecock's tail was a sign of a poor fighter]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.white feather - a symbol of cowardicewhite feather - a symbol of cowardice    
symbolic representation, symbolisation, symbolization, symbol - something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible; "the eagle is a symbol of the United States"
References in classic literature ?
Struck in mid-air, a trifle of a flying machine, all its delicate gears tangled and disrupted, Cocky fell to the floor in a shower of white feathers, which, like snowflakes, eddied slowly down after, and after the plummet-like descent of the cat, so that some of them came to rest on her back, startling her tense nerves with their gentle impact and making her crouch closer while she shot a swift glance around and overhead for any danger that might threaten.
Someone sent her a freshly- discovered dove, a sort of carrier, but which had in the white feathers of its head and neck the form of a religious cowl.
First there will be a capital roast; then the fat will find me in goose-grease for six months; and then there are all the beautiful white feathers.
Lady Carey leaned forward, and looked at him from behind the large fan of white feathers which she was lazily fluttering before her face.
The ferocity of their fierce faces was accentuated by the upturned, bristling tiger cat's teeth which protruded from every ear; while the long feathers of the Argus pheasant waving from their war-caps, the brilliant colors of their war-coats trimmed with the black and white feathers of the hornbill, and the strange devices upon their gaudy shields but added to the savagery of their appearance as they danced and howled, menacing and intimidating, in the path of the charging foe.
Dobrizhoffer [17] long ago was aware of there being two kinds of ostriches, he says, "You must know, moreover, that Emus differ in size and habits in different tracts of land; for those that inhabit the plains of Buenos Ayres and Tucuman are larger, and have black, white and grey feathers; those near to the Strait of Magellan are smaller and more beautiful, for their white feathers are tipped with black at the extremity, and their black ones in like manner terminate in white.
think what an advantageous contrast--and the white feathers in her hair--I mean in her wool.
The note was written on a broad, white feather from a stork's wing, and it said:
The dress was a sombre grayish beige, untrimmed and unbraided, and she wore a small turban of the same dull hue, relieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the side.
Sara Stanley wore a smart new travelling suit and a blue felt hat with a white feather.
One must have an ostrich plume; another, a white feather with a red end; a third, a bunch of cock's tails.
At the end of the jetty, his clothes richly laced with gold, glittering, as was customary with him, with diamonds and precious stones, his hat ornamented with a white feather which drooped upon his shoulder, Buckingham was seen surrounded by a staff almost as brilliant as himself.