Etymology
Advertisement
palm (n.2)

tropical tree of the order Palmae; the date-palm, Middle English palme, from Old English palma, Old French palme, both from Latin palma "palm tree," originally "palm of the hand;" the tree so called from the shape of its leaves, like fingers of a hand (see palm (n.1)).

The word traveled early to northern Europe, where the tree does not grow, via Christianity, and took root in the local languages (such as Old Saxon palma, Old High German palma, Old Norse palmr); Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, is Old English palm-sunnandæg. In ancient times, a leaf or frond of the palm was carried or worn as a symbol of victory or triumph, or on feast days; hence figurative use of palm for "victory, triumph" (late 14c.).

Palm Beach, Florida, named for the palm groves there, was established as a luxury resort c. 1900 by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. Palm court "large room in a hotel, etc., usually decorated with potted palms" is recorded by 1908.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
feather (n.)

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).

Related entries & more 
palm (v.)

"impose (something) on (someone) by fraud," 1670s, from palm (n.1); around the same time it also meant "conceal in the palm of the hand" (1670s) and "handle, manipulate" (1680s). Extended form palm off (something, on someone) is from 1822.

Related entries & more 
feather (v.)

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.

Related entries & more 
palm (n.1)

"flat of the hand, inner surface of the hand between the wrist and the fingers," c. 1300, paume, from Old French paume, palme (Modern French paume), from Latin palma "palm of the hand," also "flat end of an oar; palm tree," from PIE root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread" (source also of Greek palamē "open hand," Old Irish lam, Welsh llaw, Old English folm, Old High German folma "hand," Sanskrit panih "hand, hoof").

Palm oil is earlier in the punning sense of "bribe" (1620s) than in the literal sense of "fatty oil obtained from the fruit of the West African palm" (1705, from palm (n.2)).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
feather-weight (n.)

also featherweight, "lightest weight allowable by rules," 1812 (earlier as simply feather, 1760), from feather (n.) + weight (n.). Originally in horse-racing; boxing use as a specific weight class dates from 1889.

Related entries & more 
white feather (n.)

as a symbol of cowardice, 1785, said to be from the time when cock-fighting was respectable, and when the strain of game-cock in vogue had no white feathers, so that "having a white feather, is proof he is not of the true game breed" [Grose].

Related entries & more 
pin-feather (n.)

"a young feather, one on which the vanes have not yet expanded," 1775, from pin (n.) + feather (n.). Related: Pin-feathered.

Related entries & more 
feather-bed (n.)

Old English feþerbedd; see feather (n.) + bed (n.).

Related entries & more 
palm-tree (n.)

"tree or shrub of the order Palmae," Old English palm-treo; see palm (n.2) + tree (n.).

Related entries & more