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[hahy-teyl] /ˈhaɪˌteɪl/
verb (used without object), Informal.
to go away or leave rapidly:
Last we saw of him, he was hightailing down the street.
hightail it, hurry; rush; scamper:
Hightail it down to the grocery store and buy some bread for lunch.
Origin of hightail
1885-90, Americanism; high + tail1, in reference to the raised tails of fleeing animals, as deer or rabbits Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for high-tail
Historical Examples
  • high-tail, having eaten the carrot, decided to go elsewhere.

    Partners of Chance

    Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • When they arrived, high-tail had made his third round of the corral, with Jimmy still attached to the rope.

    Partners of Chance

    Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • So, as I was saying, we swipe two single-seaters from their trick airdrome and high-tail for the Russian front.

  • I jest held my loop in front of some carrots and high-tail shoves his head into it.

    Partners of Chance

    Henry Herbert Knibbs
British Dictionary definitions for high-tail


(intransitive) (informal, mainly US & Canadian) to go or move in a great hurry Also hightail it
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 high-tail

also hightail "move quickly," attested by 1890, U.S. slang from cattle ranches (animals fleeing with elevated tails); from high (adj.) + tail (n.). Related: Hightailed; hightailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for high-tail


v,v phr

  1. To leave quickly; light out: She took one look and hightailed for home
  2. To speed; rush; highball: We better hightail it if we want to make the first show (1925+ Cowboys)
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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