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A feather in one’s cap

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.


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Examples

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)

 

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