[ koht-teyl ]
See synonyms for: coattails on

  1. the back of the skirt on a man's coat or jacket.

  2. one of the two back parts of the skirt of a coat, especially one of the tails on a tail coat.

  1. gained by association with another, especially with a successful or celebrated person: coattail benefits.

Idioms about coattail

  1. on someone's coattails, aided by association with another person: The senator rode into office on the president's coattails.

  2. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use coattail in a sentence

  • Depositing her tenderly upon a pile of hot bricks, he mopped his steaming front with his warm coat-tail.

  • He sits wi' little ease wha sits on his neighbour's coat tail.

    The Proverbs of Scotland | Alexander Hislop
  • I carried five messages to one fellow with a coat-tail straight to his heels, last week.

    Evan Harrington, Complete | George Meredith
  • Then he again uttered an exclamation, for a bounding cannon ball—ricochetting from the deck—took off the end of his coat-tail.

  • I had sold two dozen at fifty cents apiece when I felt somebody pull my coat tail.

British Dictionary definitions for coat-tail


  1. the long tapering tails at the back of a man's tailed coat

  2. 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