What does the expression/idiom "feather your nest" mean? I see a lot of references to it but I can't seem to figure out its meaning.
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closed as general reference by aedia λ, Hugo, z7sg Ѫ, kiamlaluno, waiwai933♦ Nov 15 '11 at 5:14
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"Feather your nest" means to make a profit from some activity.
But it implies that you achieved this because of your position or not entirely honestly. So a politician who leaves office and then goes to work for a company who he had favored- not quite outright theft or bribery, but definitely suspect.
It comes from the sense of buying things to make your home or life (i.e. nest) more comfortable.
"Feathers" are a prime commodity that would make a (bird's) nest more comfortable than the average nest.
"Feathering one's nest" means making one's home or life in general fancier, or more comfortable than those of other similarly situated individuals, usually in the same neighborhood.
That's why it sometimes has "suspect" connotations referred to in Martin Beckett's answer (e.g. "How could 'one of us' live so much better?")