plume


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plume oneself

Congratulate oneself, boast, as in He plumed himself on his victory. This idiom transfers the bird's habit of dressing its feathers to human self-satisfaction. [First half of 1600s]
See also: plume

borrowed plumes

a pretentious display not rightly your own.
This phrase refers to the fable of the jay which dressed itself in the peacock's feathers.
See also: borrow, plume
References in classic literature ?
White Plume (we are pleased with his chivalrous soubriquet) inhabited a large stone house, built for him by order of the American government: but the establishment had not been carried out in corresponding style.
I want to put on lavender-colored tights, with red velvet breeches and a green doublet slashed with yellow; to have a light-blue silk cloak on my shoulder, and a black eagle's plume waving from my hat, and a big sword, and a falcon, and a lance, and a prancing horse, so that I might go about and gladden the eyes of the people.
No plume or nobloy fluttered from his plain tilting salade, and even his lance was devoid of the customary banderole.
Sir Plume, not famous for brains, put on a very bold, determined air, and fiercely attacked the Baron--"My Lord," he cried, "why, what
For thus speak ye: "Real are we wholly, and without faith and superstition": thus do ye plume yourselves--alas
Along the cattle-paths the plumes of goldenrod were already fading into sun-warmed velvet, grey with gold threads in it.
a strange sight that, Parsee: --a hearse and its plumes floating over the ocean with the waves for the pall-bearers.
The ground lay this: On a long, low hill in front of our impi were massed the regiments of Zwide; there were seventeen of them; the earth was black with their number; their plumes filled the air like snow.
Over his armour he wore a surcoat or cassock of what seemed to be the finest cloth of gold, all bespangled with glittering mirrors like little moons, which gave him an extremely gallant and splendid appearance; above his helmet fluttered a great quantity of plumes, green, yellow, and white, and his lance, which was leaning against a tree, was very long and stout, and had a steel point more than a palm in length.
Among the recruits who had enlisted he distributed feathers and ostrich plumes.
The country, too, was good, so they settled here and grew strong and powerful, and now our numbers are like the sea sand, and when Twala the king calls up his regiments their plumes cover the plain so far as the eye of man can reach.
An Austrian officer in a white uniform with green plumes in his hat galloped up to Kutuzov and asked in the Emperor's name had the fourth column advanced into action.
Heaven knows what gaudy sentimental parade we made in our borrowed plumes, but if the travesty had kept itself to the written word it would have been all well enough.
These trees she stopped to look at with pleasure and surprise, for their leaves were shaped like ostrich plumes, their feather edges beautifully curled; and all the plumes were tinted in the same dainty rainbow hues that appeared in Polychrome's own pretty gauze gown.
Looking down upon the Arrow with which it had been pierced, it found that the shaft of the Arrow had been feathered with one of its own plumes.