the back of the skirt on a man's coat or jacket.
one of the two back parts of the skirt of a coat, especially one of the tails on a tail coat.


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


    on someone's coattails, aided by association with another person: The senator rode into office on the president's coattails.
    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. 2019

Examples from the Web for coattails

Contemporary Examples of coattails

Historical Examples of coattails

  • 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.


    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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with coattails


see on someone's coattails.

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