- gained by association with another, especially with a successful or celebrated person: coattail benefits.
- on someone's coattails, aided by association with another person: The senator rode into office on the president's coattails.
- on the coattails of, immediately after or as a result of: His decline in popularity followed on the coattails of the scandal.
Origin of coattail
on someone's coattails
Also, on the coattails of. Owing to another person's popularity or merits. For example, He won the cabinet post by hanging on the senator's coattails, or He was elected to office on the coattails of the governor. This expression, with its graphic image, dates from the mid-1800s, when coats with tails were in fashion.