Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

be tarred and feathered

1. Literally, to be coated with tar and bird feathers as a form of public punishment and shaming (one that is no longer carried out). The thief was tarred and feathered in the public square before being paraded through the town strapped to a wooden cart.
2. By extension, to be severely criticized, reprimanded, or excoriated, especially in a public and humiliating manner. After this economic collapse, everyone is demanding that the heads of the bank be tarred and feathered, but I'd be willing to bet that they'll just get a slap on the wrist.
See also: and, feathered, tar

tar and feather

1. Literally, to coat someone with tar and bird feathers as a form of public punishment and shaming (a practice that fell out of use in the early 20th century). The mob tarred and feathered the thief in the public square before parading him through the town strapped to a wooden cart.
2. By extension, to severely criticize, reprimand, or excoriate someone, especially in a public and humiliating manner. Everyone is demanding that the government tar and feather the bank executives behind the scandal, but I'd be willing to bet that all they'll receive is a slap on the wrist.
See also: and, feather, tar

feathered friends

Birds, regardless of type or species. Mark breeds and raises hawks for racing, and his fine feathered friends are among the most valuable in the world. Grampa is out feeding his feathered friends at the park.
See also: feathered, friend

tar and feather someone

to punish or humiliate someone by coating them with tar and feathers. The people of the village tarred and feathered the bank robber and chased him out of town. They threatened to tar and feather me if I ever came back into their town.
See also: and, feather, tar

tar and feather

Criticize severely, punish, as in The traditionalists often want to tar and feather those who don't conform. This expression alludes to a former brutal punishment in which a person was smeared with tar and covered with feathers, which then stuck. It was first used as a punishment for theft in the English navy, recorded in the Ordinance of Richard I in 1189, and by the mid-1700s had become mob practice. The figurative usage dates from the mid-1800s.
See also: and, feather, tar

tar and feather

smear with tar and then cover with feathers as a punishment.
This practice was introduced in Britain in 1189 , when Richard I decreed that it should be the punishment for members of the navy found guilty of theft. It seems to have been intermittently imposed on other wrongdoers in Britain and has sometimes been inflicted on an unpopular or scandalous individual by a mob.
1981 Anthony Price Soldier No More The Russians…wouldn't have cared less if we'd tarred and feathered Nasser and run him out of Suez on a rail.
See also: and, feather, tar

our feathered ˈfriends

(informal, humorous) birds: We mustn’t forget to put out food for our feathered friends during the cold winter months.
See also: feathered, friend

tar and feather

1. To punish (a person) by covering with tar and feathers.
2. To criticize severely and devastatingly; excoriate.
See also: and, feather, tar
References in periodicals archive ?
As you'd guess, their thick feathered feet allow them to thrive better in cold environments.
We think that our new logo and marketing program carries Feathered Nest to the next level of establishing the firm as the undisputed leader in the residential rental market," said Kent M.
But neither feathered dinosaur could fly, says AMNH paleontologist Luis Chiappe.
Many of the feathered dinosaurs found in China are older than Ornithomimus.
He found that the feathered back legs would have allowed the creature to make tighter turns and fly more slowly that it could have without its feathered legs.
A report appearing online February 4 in Science hints that Anchiornis huxleyi, the oldest feathered creature yet found in the fossil record, sported the boldest dinosaur color scheme found so far.
If the feathered dinosaur is confirmed, said paleontologists who have seen the fossil, then it provides almost irrefutable evidence that today's birds evolved from dinosaurs.
In the new scenario, the animal held its feathered legs and feet beneath the body, says Sankar Chatterjee, a paleontologist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
If the feathered legs were held out at 45 degrees, they would enable Archaeopteryx to turn 9 percent more sharply than if the creature's legs didn't aid its flight.
A detailed x-ray scan of the fossilized brain-case of an Archaeopteryx shows that several features of the ancient feathered creature's brain and inner ear were highly developed and similar to those of modern birds.
A team of Chinese paleontologists has discovered two nearly complete fossils of a small, feathered dinosaur that they say had four wings.
The fossil record of the millions of years during which feathered dinosaurs developed into modern birds is one of the few well-documented examples of evolution that include several intermediate stages, he adds.
All these so-called feathered dinosaurs are younger than the first real known birds," points out Storrs L.
So, Patricelli was able to obtain a feathered skin for the outer layer of her fembot.
A new look at a fossil that had been lying in a drawer in Moscow for nearly 30 years has uncovered the oldest known feathered animal, says a team of U.