Think of a large, fluffy, colorful feather and you are imagining a plume, something that can be used decoratively, often in hats or vases, just as it creates a decorative element for the bird it comes from.

We can trace the present word plume from the Old English word plūmfether. Going back further, we can find the Latin pluma meaning "feather" or "down." Plume is often applied to a large puff of smoke or any mass that spreads into the air from a single source. If you see a plume of smoke coming from the chimney, the fireplace is going. If you see a plume of smoke coming from the window, call the fire department.

Definitions of plume
  1. noun
    the light horny waterproof structure forming the external covering of birds
    synonyms: feather, plumage
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    down, down feather
    soft fine feathers
    a supplementary feather (usually small) on the underside of the base of the shaft of some feathers in some birds
    contour feather
    feathers covering the body of an adult bird and determining its shape
    alula, bastard wing, spurious wing
    tuft of small stiff feathers on the first digit of a bird's wing
    the downy feathers of marabou storks are used for trimming garments
    long slender feather on the necks of e.g. turkeys and pheasants
    flight feather, pinion, quill, quill feather
    any of the larger wing or tail feathers of a bird
    a feather covering the shoulder of a bird
    duck down
    down of the duck
    goose down
    down of the goose
    swan's down
    down of the swan
    down feather of young birds; persists in some adult birds
    saddle feather, saddle hackle
    a long narrow feather on the back (saddle) of a domestic fowl
    primary, primary feather, primary quill
    one of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird's wing
    tail feather
    feather growing from the tail (uropygium) of a bird
    type of:
    body covering
    any covering for the body or a body part
    animal material
    material derived from animals
  2. noun
    a feather or cluster of feathers worn as an ornament
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    aigret, aigrette
    a long plume (especially one of egret feathers) worn on a hat or a piece of jewelry in the shape of a plume
    a feathered plume on a helmet
    type of:
    a decoration of color or interest that is added to relieve plainness
  3. noun
    anything that resembles a feather in shape or lightness
    “a plume of smoke”
    “grass with large plumes
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    type of:
    form, shape
    the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
  4. verb
    deck with a plume
    “a plumed helmet”
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    type of:
    bedeck, bedight, deck
  5. verb
    clean with one's bill
    synonyms: preen
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    type of:
    arrange, set up
    put into a proper or systematic order
    clean, make clean
    make clean by removing dirt, filth, or unwanted substances from
  6. verb
    form a plume
    “The chimneys were pluming the sky”
    “The engine was pluming black smoke”
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    type of:
    form, shape
    give shape or form to
  7. verb
    dress or groom with elaborate care
    synonyms: dress, preen, primp
    dress, get dressed
    put on clothes
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    type of:
    attire, deck out, deck up, dress up, fancy up, fig out, fig up, get up, gussy up, overdress, prink, rig out, tog out, tog up, trick out, trick up
    put on special clothes to appear particularly appealing and attractive
  8. verb
    be proud of
    synonyms: congratulate, pride
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    type of:
    experience, feel
    undergo an emotional sensation or be in a particular state of mind
  9. verb
    rip off; ask an unreasonable price
    synonyms: fleece, gazump, hook, overcharge, pluck, rob, soak, surcharge
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    charge (someone) too little money
    extort, gouge, rack, squeeze, wring
    obtain by coercion or intimidation
    get or extort (money or other possessions) from someone
    type of:
    cheat, chisel, rip off
    deprive somebody of something by deceit
Word Family

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