[ duhv-teyl ]
See synonyms for: dovetaildovetailing on

  1. a tenon broader at its end than at its base; pin.

  2. a joint formed of one or more such tenons fitting tightly within corresponding mortises.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. Carpentry. to join or fit together by means of a dovetail or dovetails.

  2. to join or fit together compactly or harmoniously.

Origin of dovetail

First recorded in 1555–65; so named from its shape

Other words from dovetail

  • dovetailer, noun

Words Nearby dovetail Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dovetail in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dovetail


/ (ˈdʌvˌteɪl) /

  1. a wedge-shaped tenon

  2. Also called: dovetail joint a joint containing such tenons

  1. (tr) to join by means of dovetails

  2. to fit or cause to fit together closely or neatly: he dovetailed his arguments to the desired conclusion

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