tack

1
[tak]
||

noun

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


Idioms

    on the wrong tack, under a misapprehension; in error; astray: His line of questioning began on the wrong tack.

Origin of tack

1
1300–50; (noun) Middle English tak buckle, clasp, nail (later, tack); cognate with German Zacke prong, Dutch tak twig; (v.) Middle English tacken to attach, derivative of the noun; see tache, attach
Related formstack·er, nountack·less, adjective
Can be confusedtack tact track tracttacks tax

Synonyms for tack

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for on the wrong tack

tack

1

noun

a short sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat and comparatively large head
British a long loose temporary stitch used in dressmaking, etc
a temporary fastening
stickiness, as of newly applied paint, varnish, etc
nautical the heading of a vessel sailing to windward, stated in terms of the side of the sail against which the wind is pressing
nautical
  1. a course sailed by a sailing vessel with the wind blowing from forward of the beam
  2. one such course or a zigzag pattern of such courses
nautical
  1. a sheet for controlling the weather clew of a course
  2. the weather clew itself
nautical the forward lower clew of a fore-and-aft sail
a course of action differing from some previous coursehe went off on a fresh tack
on the wrong tack under a false impression

verb

(tr) to secure by a tack or series of tacks
British to sew (something) with long loose temporary stitches
(tr) to attach or appendtack this letter onto the other papers
nautical to change the heading of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack
nautical to steer (a sailing vessel) on alternate tacks
(intr) nautical (of a sailing vessel) to proceed on a different tack or to alternate tacks
(intr) to follow a zigzag route; keep changing one's course of action
Derived Formstackless, adjective

Word Origin for tack

C14 tak fastening, nail; related to Middle Low German tacke pointed instrument

tack

2

noun

informal food, esp when regarded as inferior or distastefulSee also hardtack

Word Origin for tack

C19: of unknown origin

tack

3

noun

  1. riding harness for horses, such as saddles, bridles, etc
  2. (as modifier)the tack room

Word Origin for tack

C20: shortened from tackle

tack

4

noun Scot

a lease
an area of land held on a lease

Word Origin for tack

C15: from tak a Scots word for take
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 on the wrong tack

tack

n.1

"clasp, hook, fastener," also "a nail of some kind," late 13c., from Old North French taque "nail, pin, peg," probably from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch tacke "twig, spike," Low German takk "tine, pointed thing," German Zacken "sharp point, tooth, prong"); perhaps related to tail. Meaning "small, sharp nail with a flat head" is attested from mid-15c. The meaning "rope to hold the corner of a sail in place" is first recorded late 14c.

tack

n.2

"horse's harness, etc.," 1924, shortening of tackle (n.) in sense of "equipment." Tack in a non-equestrian sense as a shortening of tackle is recorded in dialect from 1777.

tack

n.3

"food," 1833, perhaps a shortening and special use of tackle (n.) in the sense of "gear."

tack

v.1

late 14c., "to attach with a nail, etc.," from tack (n.1). Meaning "to attach as a supplement" (with suggestion of hasty or arbitrary proceeding) is from 1680s. Related: Tacked; tacking.

tack

v.2

"sail into the wind," 1550s, from tack (n.1) in the sailing sense. Figurative sense of "course or line of conduct or action" is from 1670s. Related: Tacked; tacking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with on the wrong tack

on the wrong tack

Also, on the wrong track. See under on the right tack.

tack

see get down to brass tacks; on the right tack; sharp as a tack.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.