[ hawrs-teyl ]
See synonyms for: horsetailhorse tails on

  1. Also called scouring rush. any nonflowering plant of the genus Equisetum, having hollow, jointed stems.

  2. a horse's tail formerly used as a Turkish military standard or as an ensign of a pasha, the number of tails increasing with the rank.

Origin of horsetail

First recorded in 1350–1400, horsetail is from Middle English horse tayle. See horse, tail1

Words Nearby horsetail

Other definitions for horse tail (2 of 2)

horse tail

  1. a ponytail.

Origin of horse tail

First recorded in 1870–75 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use horsetail in a sentence

  • The Smooth Naked horsetail is a common plant, specially by the sides of streams and pools.

    How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
  • The Variegated horsetail is not exclusively maritime, however, for it sometimes grows by the sides of rivers and ponds.

    How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
  • Mike's Head is probably a popular name for the rush of the Equisetum species, known as "horsetail."

British Dictionary definitions for horsetail


/ (ˈhɔːsˌteɪl) /

  1. any tracheophyte plant of the genus Equisetum, having jointed stems with whorls of small dark toothlike leaves and producing spores within conelike structures at the tips of the stems: phylum Sphenophyta

  2. a stylized horse's tail formerly used as the emblem of a pasha, the number of tails increasing with rank

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

Scientific definitions for horsetail


[ hôrstāl′ ]

  1. A member of a genus, Equisetum, of seedless vascular plants having a jointed hollow stem and narrow, sometimes much reduced leaves. Plants extremely similar to modern horsetails are known from fossils 300 million years old. The horsetails are the last surviving members of the phylum Sphenophyta, which dominated the forests of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.