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    #1

    white feather

    Dear Teachers,

    I was watching Downton Abbey when I was confused at one clip: a girl gave a man a white feather and said :"coward". My question is:
    Does it mean in English culture "white feather" has a connotative meaning of coward?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

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    #2

    Re: white feather

    Yes, it does.

  1. Skrej's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: white feather

    However, here "English culture" refers specifically to the culture of England. There was an excellent movie called "The Four Feathers", starring Heath Ledger based on this concept.

    This connotation doesn't exist in AmE. It does have some minor usage among US military snipers as a symbol of marksmanship and courage.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: white feather

    The white feather was also a thing in Australia during WWI.

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    #5

    Re: white feather

    Dear Rover_KE,
    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    I am unable to post Thank and Like and I guess it is due to the fact that there is an exclaimation mark in a triangle on the right of Thank and Like.
    Jiang

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    #6

    Re: white feather

    Dear Raymott,
    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    Jiang

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    #7

    Re: white feather

    Dear Skrej,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. May I say the meaning in England is just the opposite the meaning in American English?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jiang

  3. Skrej's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: white feather

    I wouldn't say it's exactly the opposite, but regardless, it's not very widely known in America no matter which meaning you use.

    Feathers in America are most often associated with Native Americans, more than anything else.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  4. Amigos4's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: white feather

    Quote Originally Posted by Skrej View Post
    Feathers in America are most often associated with Native Americans, more than anything else.
    Feathers in America are most often associated with birds, more than anything else.

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    #10

    Re: white feather

    Conscientious objectors - people who refused to fight in the First World War - were targeted in the UK by people handing out white feathers to mark them as cowards.

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