white feather


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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 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.
Sophia was to be a shepherdess, with as many sheep as the painter could put in for nothing; and Moses was to be dressed out with a hat and white feather.
Her gray felt hat had a white feather on it, and a white tissue veil with large black dots made her delicate skin look brilliant.
Each man wore a close fitting cap of black, decked with a curling white feather.
The quilt of a high, white feather bed was just visible behind a screen.
The General on hearing of this further intended outrage, showed the white feather.
If you had shown the white feather, and let him pull your nose, he'd have got it into the paper; if you had sworn the peace against him, it would have been in the paper too, and he'd have been just as much talked about as you--don't you see?
A solitary white feather uprose from his kinky, glossy, black hair.