[verb en-teyl; noun en-teyl, en-teyl]
See more synonyms for entail on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause or involve by necessity or as a consequence: a loss entailing no regret.
  2. to impose as a burden: Success entails hard work.
  3. Law. to limit the passage of (a landed estate) to a specified line of heirs, so that it cannot be alienated, devised, or bequeathed.
  4. Law. to cause (anything) to descend to a fixed series of possessors.
  1. the act of entailing.
  2. Law. the state of being entailed.
  3. any predetermined order of succession, as to an office.
  4. Law. something that is entailed, as an estate.
  5. Law. the rule of descent settled for an estate.

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. 2018

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)
  1. to bring about or impose by necessity; have as a necessary consequencethis task entails careful thought
  2. property law to restrict (the descent of an estate) to a designated line of heirs
  3. logic to have as a necessary consequence
  1. 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