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90s Slang You Should Know


[koht-teyl] /ˈkoʊtˌteɪl/
the back of the skirt on a man's coat or jacket.
one of the two back parts of the skirt of a coat, especially one of the tails on a tail coat.
gained by association with another, especially with a successful or celebrated person:
coattail benefits.
on someone's coattails, aided by association with another person:
The senator rode into office on the president's coattails.
on the coattails of, immediately after or as a result of:
His decline in popularity followed on the coattails of the scandal.
Origin of coattail
First recorded in 1590-1600; coat + tail1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for coat-tail
Historical Examples
  • He loves to swaller a part of my coat-tail Sunday morning, when I am dressed up, and then return it to me in a moist condition.

    Remarks Bill Nye
  • An' I seed her touch his coat-tail, like as if she loved it, but didn't dast do no more.

  • The actor had his coat-tail stuck out behind, and was in a seeming flutter of feathered rage and pride.

    Genius in Sunshine and Shadow Maturin Murray Ballou
  • His cap was back in his coat-tail, and he had become again the bluff and burly Briton.

    Ghetto Comedies Israel Zangwill
  • Then he turns it lovingly over in his fat palm, makes a dexterous backward motion and slides it into his coat-tail pocket.

    Contemporary One-Act Plays Sir James M. Barrie
  • But Barstein drew back his own coat-tail from the attempted kiss.

    Ghetto Comedies Israel Zangwill
  • Monsieur de la Roche-Noire did not finish his sentence, because his wife pulled his coat-tail so that she almost tore it.

  • It was this coat-tail which served as a suggestion to Mr. Scales's genius.

  • The tread of his foot is enough—the very swing of his coat-tail as he clears the corner.

  • But, upon a second search, he came upon something in the pocket of his coat-tail.

    East Lynne Mrs. Henry Wood
British Dictionary definitions for coat-tail


the long tapering tails at the back of a man's tailed coat
on someone's coat-tails, thanks to the popularity or success of someone else
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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Slang definitions & phrases for coat-tail



Based on another person's achievement or quality; derivative: But the Sephardim are not likely to remain contented with coattail power for long


To keep the same musical tempo: You're still keeping the same time. We called it coattailing (1950s+ Musicians)

Related Terms

on someone's coattails

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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