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[kat-teyl] /ˈkætˌteɪl/
any tall, reedlike marsh plant of the genus Typha, especially T. latifolia, having long, sword-shaped leaves and dense, cylindrical clusters of minute brown flowers.
Also called bulrush, reed mace.
Origin of cattail
late Middle English
First recorded in 1425-75, cattail is from the late Middle English word cattestail. See cat, tail1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cat-tail
Historical Examples
  • Were going to make all the cats in cat-tail Marsh pay an indemnity.

  • What a pity that the world could not have the benefit of one of the pictures that West painted with his cat-tail brush.

    The Diving Bell Francis C. Woodworth
  • Yet the seeds, say, of the cat-tail flag always find the wet or the marshy places.

    The Last Harvest John Burroughs
  • But one nest was all they could find—a ball of grasses fastened between two cat-tail flags.

    Citizen Bird

    Mabel Osgood Wright and Elliott Coues
  • Nest a ball of woven flags and grasses, lined with cat-tail down, and attached to rushes in salt marsh over two feet of water.

    The Bird Book Chester A. Reed
  • This is the root of a plant something like the cat-tail in looks—that is, it has the same kind of long, narrow ribbon-like leaves.

  • When the tule is not within reach our cat-tail rush is used.

  • Pass the cat-stopper through the ring of the anchor, through the chock, belay it to the cat-tail, and seize it to its own part.

    The Seaman's Friend Richard Henry Dana
  • That hour or so that we spent in the car behind closed doors is known in scout history as the Siege of cat-tail Marsh.

  • Were just making a strategic retreat from cat-tail Marsh while the mosquitoes are having breakfast.

British Dictionary definitions for cat-tail


noun (Canadian)
another word for bulrush
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cat-tail



also cat's tail, type of plant, mid-15c., from cat (n.) + tail (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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