Old English feðer "a feather; a pen," in plural, "wings," from Proto-Germanic *fethro (source also of Old Saxon fethara, Old Norse fioþr, Swedish fjäder, Middle Dutch vedere, Dutch veder, Old High German fedara, German Feder), from PIE *pet-ra-, from root *pet- "to rush, to fly."
Feather-headed "silly" is from 1640s. Feather-duster attested by 1835. Figurative use of feather in (one's) cap attested by 1734. Birds of a feather "creatures of the same kind" is from 1580s; the same image is in Greek homopteros (variant birds of a beak is from c. 1600).
"the outline of a figure," 1660s, a term in painting and sculpture, from French contour "circumference, outline," from Italian and Medieval Latin contornare "to go around," from assimilated form of Latin com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + tornare "to turn (on a lathe);" see turn (v.).
Application to topography is from 1769. Earlier the word was used to mean "bedspread, quilt" (early 15c.) in reference to its falling over the sides of the mattress. Contour line in geography is from 1844. Contour-chair, one designed to fit the curves of the body, is from 1949.
As a verb, "mark with contour lines; form to the contours of," 1871. Related: Contoured.
Old English fiðerian "to furnish with feathers or wings," from feðer (see feather (n.)). Meaning "to fit (an arrow) with feathers" is from early 13c.; that of "to deck, adorn, or provide with plumage" is from late 15c.
In reference to oars (later paddles, propellers, etc.), "to turn the blades in a horizontal position on lifting them from the water at the end of each stroke," to afford as little resistance as possible, it is attested from 1740, perhaps from the image of the blade turned edgewise, or from the spray of the water as it falls off (compare nautical feather-spray, that produced by the cutwater of a fast vessel). The noun in reference to this is from the verb. Meaning "to cut down to a thin edge" is from 1782, originally in woodworking. Phrase feather one's nest "enrich oneself" is from 1580s. Related: Feathered; feathering.
late 14c., "a feather" (especially a large and conspicuous one), from Old French plume "soft feather, down; feather bed," and directly from Latin pluma "a small soft feather, down; the first beard," from PIE root *pleus- "to pluck; a feather, fleece" (source of Old English fleos "fleece"). Meaning "a long streamer of smoke, etc." is attested from 1878.
"shaped like a feather; resembling a feather in structure," 1727, from Latin pinnatus "feathered, winged," from pinna "feather, wing" (from PIE root *pet- "to rush, to fly").