show the white feather


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show the white feather

Display cowardice, as in The minute Bob put up his fists, Bill showed the white feather and backed down. This expression comes from cockfighting, where a white feather in a bird's tail is considered a sign of inferior breeding. [Early 1800s]
See also: feather, show, white

show the white feather

To act like a coward.
See also: feather, show, white