Where does the phrase “to feather one’s nest” come from and What does it mean?

The expression “to feather one’s nest” means to provide for one’s comfort; especially, for comfort in later life by massing wealth.

The import is to the practice of many birds which, after building their nests, pluck down from their breasts to provide a soft lining that will be comfortable during the long hours of setting upon the eggs.

The oldest English literary occurrence is in 1553, but a more typical example is that used in 1590 by the young poet, Robert Greene, “She sees thou hest fethred thy nest, and bast crowns in thy purse.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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