show the white feather

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show the white feather

old-fashioned To act like or appear to be a coward; to exhibit cowardly traits or behavior. A white feather on a gamecock's tail was once considered a sign of impure breeding For all his blustery talk, the senator would showed the white feather when it actually came time to stand up against the president on the issue. He lost the respect of his community for showing the white feather when the police came through asking questions.
See also: feather, show, white

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

appear cowardly. British dated
A white feather in a game bird's tail was considered to be an indication of bad breeding.
See also: feather, show, white

show the white feather

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

white feather, to show the

To behave in a cowardly way. This term alludes to cockfighting, in which a cock with a white tail feather is deemed to be of inferior stock. It was so defined in Francis Grose’s Dictionary (1785) and has been so used ever since. “He had certainly shown the white feather,” wrote Thackeray (Pendennis, 1850).
See also: show, white
References in periodicals archive ?
DAD ROCKER Album White Feather dealt with Cormac Neeson being father to child with Down's Syndrome
Gloria said: "She totally believed that if she found an isolated white feather, it was a sign of an angel's calling card.
Lennon founded The White Feather Foundation, a charity, in 2007, to tackle environmental humanitarian issues.
Popular Hosta 'White Feather' is a rather amazing development, with its spectacular pure white leaves that emerge in late spring/ early summer.
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And the target of this patriotic wrath was usually presented with a white feather.
The White Feather was a real coup for Robbo FABRIZIO Ravanelli is hardly a name you would have expected to see on a Boro or Derby County teamsheet.
Rio Rancho, NM, November 15, 2011 --(PR.com)-- Novelist Marlene Chavez Hawkes announced today the release of White Feather and Teresita, A Southwestern Adventure Tale, published by Outskirts Press.
I suggest that they did not die so that the poppy could be used as a kind of reverse "white feather": that the sheer absence of one, would somehow denote a lack of patriotism.
The medals were to honour their service but also to prevent them being targeted by members of the public with the infamous white feather for cowardice.
LSJ is feeling lucky after an unexpected but welcome sign from the heavens: "When I looked at it closer it was a white feather.There was no sign of a bird anywhere when it fell out of the sky.
The film is produced under the banner of ' White feather films' and is directed by Supran Interacting with the media, Bollywood actor Fardeen Khan said that he preferred action flicks to the comedy films.