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 dovetailing

Contemporary Examples of dovetailing

  • That's the purpose behind the campaign, dovetailing with many other efforts to achieve the same effect.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Hollow Call For "Justice"

    Hussein Ibish

    September 17, 2012

Historical Examples of dovetailing

  • For sawing the joint reference may be made to the chapter on Dovetailing.

    Woodwork Joints

    William Fairham

  • The application of this bearer in its position will be shown in the chapter on Dovetailing.

    Woodwork Joints

    William Fairham

  • As to the manner of the dovetailing, it will be readily recalled to recollection.

  • This is a species of dovetailing the life and opinions of Junius into those of Mr. Paine.

    Junius Unmasked

    Joel Moody

  • The dovetailing of play and music is at best a perilous proceeding.

British Dictionary definitions for dovetailing



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 dovetailing


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