[verb en-teyl; noun en-teyl, en-teyl]

verb (used with object)


Origin of entail

1350–1400; Middle English entailen (v.), entail (noun). See en-1, tail2
Related formsen·tail·er, nounen·tail·ment, nounnon·en·tailed, adjectivepre·en·tail, verb (used with object)un·en·tailed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for entail

Contemporary Examples of entail

Historical Examples of entail

  • There, by their law of entail, the same process is unswifter,—yet does it unvary.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • You shall answer to me for that word, though it entail a yet worse dishonour to meet you.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • As the price of it he was fully prepared for the sacrifice of his own life, which it must entail.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • If that does not entail simony and sacrilege, then such things do not exist at all.

  • Who could have thought that the law of entail could sway a mother's affections?

British Dictionary definitions for entail


verb (tr)

to bring about or impose by necessity; have as a necessary consequencethis task entails careful thought
property law to restrict (the descent of an estate) to a designated line of heirs
logic to have as a necessary consequence


property law
  1. the restriction imposed by entailing an estate
  2. an estate that has been entailed
Derived Formsentailer, noun

Word Origin for entail

C14: entaillen, from en- 1 + taille limitation, tail ²
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 entail

mid-14c., "convert (an estate) into 'fee tail' (feudum talliatum)," from en- (1) "make" + taile "legal limitation," especially of inheritance, ruling who succeeds in ownership and preventing it from being sold off, from Anglo-French taile, Old French taillie, past participle of taillier "allot, cut to shape," from Late Latin taliare. Sense of "have consequences" is 1829, from notion of "inseparable connection." Related: Entailed; entailling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper