• synonyms


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

First recorded in 1590–1600; coat + tail1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coat-tail

Historical Examples

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

    Quaint Courtships


  • Mr. Rabbit took off his spectacles and wiped them on his coat-tail.

  • His cap was back in his coat-tail, and he had become again the bluff and burly Briton.

    Ghetto Comedies

    Israel Zangwill

  • But Barstein drew back his own coat-tail from the attempted kiss.

    Ghetto Comedies

    Israel Zangwill

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

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
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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