Thou knowest I am not one to turn tail when there is fighting to be done, but I can see what is to be seen.
I felt so shabby and disreputable that I was tempted to turn tail and escape.
We should have been able to say that we did not turn tail upon our enemies.
Even if he spent his majority in the London docks he would not turn tail.
I should not be surprised, in the end, to see Captain West turn tail and run eastward around the world to Seattle.
When we get to that stage, you'll be the first to turn tail and let the others die!
With a fierce hiss he rushed right at Johnny Chuck, expecting to see him turn tail and run.
She had begun to like him so much, it grieved her to see him turn tail.
The horses 'turn tail' and crowd together, and the men build up the baggage into a wall and crouch in the lee of it.
He could believe that gauge and turn tail—or he could figure it was wrong and go on.
"hindmost part of an animal," Old English tægl, tægel, from Proto-Germanic *tagla- (cf. Old High German zagal, German Zagel "tail," dialectal German Zagel "penis," Old Norse tagl "horse's tail"), from PIE *doklos, from root *dek- "something long and thin" (referring to such things as fringe, lock of hair, horsetail; cf. Old Irish dual "lock of hair," Sanskrit dasah "fringe, wick"). The primary sense, at least in Germanic, seems to have been "hairy tail," or just "tuft of hair," but already in Old English the word was applied to the hairless "tails" of worms, bees, etc. Another Old English word for "tail" was steort (see stark).
Meaning "reverse side of a coin" is from 1680s; that of "backside of a person, buttocks" is recorded from c.1300; slang sense of "pudenda" is from mid-14c.; that of "woman as sex object" is from 1933, earlier "prostitute" (1846). The tail-race (1776) is the part of a mill race below the wheel. To turn tail "take flight" (1580s) originally was a term in falconry. The image of the tail wagging the dog is attested from 1907.
"limitation of ownership," a legal term, early 14c. in Anglo-French; late 13c. in Anglo-Latin, in most cases a shortened form of entail.
"follow secretly," U.S. colloquial, 1907, is from earlier sense of "follow or drive cattle," from tail (n.1). Related: Tailed; tailing. Tail off "diminish" is attested from 1854.
The posterior part of an animal, especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body.
To run away in fear: turned tail at the first sign of trouble
: tailing a jewelry salesman (1907+)
one's ass off, drag-tail, drag one's tail, get one's tail in a gate, have a broom up one's ass, have a tiger by the tail, have someone or something by the tail, piece of ass, ringtail, shavetail, work one's ass off
[in the second noun sense, tail, ''sex organ,'' is found by 1362]