adjective Heraldry.

noting a partition line or a charge, as an ordinary, having a series of indentations suggesting dovetails.

Origin of dovetailed

First recorded in 1715–25; dovetail + -ed3



noun Carpentry.

a tenon broader at its end than at its base; pin.
a joint formed of one or more such tenons fitting tightly within corresponding mortises.

verb (used with or without object)

Carpentry. to join or fit together by means of a dovetail or dovetails.
to join or fit together compactly or harmoniously.

Origin of dovetail

First recorded in 1555–65; so named from its shape
Related formsdove·tail·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dovetailed

Contemporary Examples of dovetailed

Historical Examples of dovetailed

  • It is designed to make the dovetailed tongue as well as the groove.

  • The dovetailed ties are just as sound now as on the day of their insertion.

  • I have never been able to understand how every bit has dovetailed with such exactness.

    The Blind Spot

    Austin Hall

  • Away with the mechanism of the polished, dovetailed, machine-made play of Dumas.


    James Huneker

  • We had cut across the 180th meridian, where time is dovetailed.

    The Pacific Triangle

    Sydney Greenbie

British Dictionary definitions for dovetailed



a wedge-shaped tenon
Also called: dovetail joint a joint containing such tenons


(tr) to join by means of dovetails
to fit or cause to fit together closely or neatlyhe 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

Word Origin and History for dovetailed


late 16c. (n.), 1650s (v.), from dove (n.) + tail. So called from resemblance of shape in the tenon or mortise of the joints to that of the bird’s tailfeather display. Related: Dovetailed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper