[ koht-teyl ]


  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 tailcoat.


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

    coattail benefits.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of coattail1

First recorded in 1590–1600; coat + tail 1

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Idioms and Phrases

  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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Example Sentences

ROI is designed to ride that reauthorization’s coattails, with non-controversial, common-sense budget allocations.

Iran has been riding China’s coattails in the realm of surveillance for some time.

He moved off, his coattail bobbing oddly about his hips and his back bowed.

Only the weight of the lumps of metal dangling in his coattail pocket kept him from collapsing.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




Coatsworthcoattail effect