Both 'featherbed' and 'feather bed' are correct. While 'feather bed' is more common, anytime that the term is used in a figurative sense (i.e., not referring to a mattress), 'featherbed' becomes more common.

1. noun. Literally, a feather bed is a bed in which the mattress is stuffed with feathers. They have a reputation for being very soft.

2. verb. To hire more workers than are really necessary. This might be done because a union requires it, or to satisfy safety requirements. See featherbedding, featherbed rules.

3. verb (rare) To pamper or to treat with excessive indulgence.

4. noun. A fibrous layer of living plants and organic material floating on top of a pond (or other body) of water.

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