A feather in one’s cap is an interesting idiom that has been around since the early to middle 1700s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will look at the meaning of the term a feather in one’s cap, where it possibly came from and some examples of its use in sentences.
A feather in one’s cap is a figurative phrase that means an accomplishment, an achievement, something one has accomplished and should be proud of. The term first appeared in the 1700s. The term a feather in one’s cap is probably best known from the song Yankee Doodle: “Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony; he stuck a feather in his cap, and called it macaroni.” The custom of physically sticking a feather in one’s cap is of course, older. There are many reasons for sticking a feather in one’s cap. In some cultures, adding a feather to one’s head covering meant the wearer had performed a feat of bravery or had killed an enemy in battle. Even hunters sometimes stick feathers in their hats from birds they have harvested.
Admittedly, Dr. Ross proved that those things don’t guarantee strong leadership, but one still might think that having some expertise in your chosen field might be a nice little feather in one’s cap. (The Troy Daily News)
“The National Watercolor Society is a very prestigious organization, and the jurying in is so strict that to be able to put NWS after one’s name is really a feather in one’s cap,” Meg Huntington Cajero, a past president of the society, said. (The Huffington Post)