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coattail

[koht-teyl]
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noun
  1. the back of the skirt on a man's coat or jacket.
  2. tail coat.
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adjective
  1. gained by association with another, especially with a successful or celebrated person: coattail benefits.
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Idioms
  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 coattails

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Anyhow, Denboro won't hang onto his coattails to hold him back.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • A marriage,—yes; but Frank has only just got into coattails!

    My Novel, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • He came towards them at an amble, scratching actively behind his coattails.

    Ulysses

    James Joyce

  • All I ask is a block's start an' some wan holdin' th' polisman's coattails.

    Mr. Dooley Says

    Finley Dunne

  • Morris ran to the store door and grabbed Hymie by the coattails.


Word Origin and History for coattails

n.

also coat-tail, c.1600, from coat (n.) + tail (n.). In 17c., to do something on one's own coattail meant "at one's own expense. Meaning "power of one person," especially in politics, is from 1848 (in a Congressional speech by Abraham Lincoln, in reference to Andrew Jackson); expression riding (someone's) coattails into political office is from 1949.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with coattails

coattails

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