from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of the stiff main feathers of a bird's tail, used to control the direction of flight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A governess; a rectoress.
  • n. A flight feather on the tails of birds, used for directional control.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A governess; a rectoress.
  • n. One of the quill feathers of the tail of a bird.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as rectoress.
  • n. In ornithology, a tail-feather; one of the long or large quill-feathers of a bird's tail: so called from its use in directing or steering the course of a bird in flight, like a rudder.


Latin rēctrīx, feminine of rēctor, director; see rector.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin feminine form of rector, one who directs. (Wiktionary)


  • _P.c. amoenissima_, and the black at the base of the inner webs of the outermost rectrix does not extend beyond the tip of the under tail coverts.

    Birds from Coahuila, Mexico

  • Representatives of _P.c. amoenissima_ have black at the base of the inner web of the outermost rectrix more extended, usually showing beyond the tip of the under tail coverts.

    Birds from Coahuila, Mexico

  • The outermost rectrix of No. 31633 is wholly white; the second rectrix is nearly as white.

    Birds from Coahuila, Mexico

  • On 30th July on the left side the central rectrix and the first and second posterior coverts were still growing, on the right side the central rectrix was also growing, but the first and second posterior coverts had ceased growth and formed their quills.

    Hormones and Heredity

  • The first right central rectrix in cock B was accidentally pulled out on

    Hormones and Heredity

  • On 2nd September the left central rectrix was almost at the end of its growth, the right had ceased to grow

    Hormones and Heredity

  • The singular form of retrices is rectrix which comes from the Latin word oar used to mean rower.

    CreationWiki - Recent changes [en]

  • In order to find the equation of thefcab of prefTures, draw the right line K I parallel to the di - rectrix £ G, confidered as the axis to which the opdi« nates are perpendicular: let the preffure K £ zap and the abfcifTa £ L = K 1 = at.

    A Treatise on Gun-powder ; A Treatise on Fire-arms ; and A Treatise on the Service of Artillery ...

  • 3 Let the line HP, which meets the di - rectrix in H, cut a conic feftion in $ny point P; join SP, draw HS 7* through the focus, and make the angle TSp equal to the angle HSP; then if HP, Sp «be produced till they meet in p, the point p will be in the conic fe&ion, or in the oppofite fee - tion.

    A Short Treatise on the Conic Sections: In which the Three Curves are Derived from a General ...


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  • Not to be confused with the pejorative (and sexist*) rixatrix.
    * It's a pretty safe bet nobody referred to Attila as "a scold".

    January 18, 2009

  • ~defined as a "female ruler," oddly enough, by one of those "worthless words" websites...can't find it now

    January 18, 2009

  • Just thank heavens you don't own any.

    October 13, 2007

  • Eew. It doesn't *sound* like that's what it is.

    October 13, 2007

  • Flight feather in the tails of most modern birds. (Plural is rectrices.)

    October 13, 2007