white feather

(redirected from showed the white feather)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.

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 ?
The General on hearing of this further intended outrage, showed the white feather.
As he says himself, "We have never showed the white feather even in the toughest times".
But Mr Heseltine also showed the white feather when the Daily Mirror challenged his claim that the Tories would win a 60-seat majority at the election.