—quill-like, adj./kwil/, n.1. one of the large feathers of the wing or tail of a bird.2. the hard, hollow, basal part of a feather. See illus. under feather.3. a feather, as of a goose, formed into a pen for writing.4. one of the hollow spines on a porcupine or hedgehog.5. a plectrum of a harpsichord.6. a roll of bark, as of cinnamon, formed in drying.7. a reed or other hollow stem on which yarn is wound.8. a bobbin or spool.9. a toothpick.10. Mach.a. a hollow shaft or sleeve through which another independently rotating shaft may pass.b. a shaft, joined to and supported by two other shafts or machines, for transmitting motion from one to the other.c. a rotating toolholder used in boring or facing internal angles.11. a musical pipe, esp. one made from a hollow reed.v.t.12. Textiles.a. to arrange (fabric) in flutes or cylindrical ridges, as along the edge of a garment, hem, etc.b. to wind on a quill, as yarn.13. to penetrate with, or as if with, a quill or quills.14. to extract a quill or quills from: to quill a duck before cooking it.[1375-1425; late ME quil; cf. LG quiele, G Kiel]
* * *▪ featheralso called Calamus,hollow, horny barrel of a bird's feather, used as the principal writing instrument from the 6th century until the mid-19th century, when steel pen points were introduced. The strongest quills were obtained from living birds in their new growth period in the spring. Only the five outer wing feathers (follicles) were considered suitable for writing; the second and third were especially preferred. Quills from the left wing were favoured because the feathers curve outward and away from a right-handed writer.Goose feathers were the principal source of quills; quills from the scarcer, more expensive swan were preferred; but for making fine lines, quills from crows were better than either. Quill pens made from feathers of the eagle, owl, hawk, and turkey have also been used.
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