- a short, sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat, broad head.
- a rope for extending the lower forward corner of a course.
- the lower forward corner of a course or fore-and-aft sail.
- the heading of a sailing vessel, when sailing close-hauled, with reference to the wind direction.
- a course run obliquely against the wind.
- one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a ship proceeding to windward.
- a course of action or conduct, especially one differing from some preceding or other course.
- one of the movements of a zigzag course on land.
- a stitch, especially a long stitch used in fastening seams, preparatory to a more thorough sewing.
- a fastening, especially of a temporary kind.
- stickiness, as of nearly dry paint or glue or of a printing ink or gummed tape; adhesiveness.
- the gear used in equipping a horse, including saddle, bridle, martingale, etc.
- to fasten by a tack or tacks: to tack a rug to the floor.
- to secure by some slight or temporary fastening.
- to join together; unite; combine.
- to attach as something supplementary; append; annex (often followed by on or onto).
- to change the course of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack.
- to navigate (a sailing vessel) by a series of tacks.
- to equip (a horse) with tack.
- to change the course of a sailing vessel by bringing the head into the wind and then causing it to fall off on the other side: He ordered us to tack at once.
- (of a sailing vessel) to change course in this way.
- to proceed to windward by a series of courses as close to the wind as the vessel will sail.
- to take or follow a zigzag course or route.
- to change one's course of action, conduct, ideas, etc.
- to equip a horse with tack (usually followed by up): Please tack up quickly.
- on the wrong tack, under a misapprehension; in error; astray: His line of questioning began on the wrong tack.
Origin of tack1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tack on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tacking
The region is marketed for visitors as “Aryan Valley,” and many citizens have taken to tacking on “Aryan” to their last names.The Himalayas’ Hidden Aryans
January 3, 2015
What's the point of tacking on some trifling symbolic punishment to their deep anguish?Some Things Are Beyond Punishment
June 25, 2013
After tacking to the right, John McCain is back to picking fights with Republican colleagues.Does Maverick McCain Matter?
May 30, 2013
Nor do I see the case for tacking left on affirmative action.What does Majority-Minority Politics Look Like?
November 8, 2012
The economy did add jobs in August, tacking on 96,000 new positions from July.Why the Jobs Report Is So Meh
September 7, 2012
See how she hangs in the wind, neither keeping on her course nor tacking.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
This zigzagging, or "tacking," as it is called, is illustrated in Fig. 141.Boys' Book of Model Boats
Raymond Francis Yates
"I was only tacking up my new banner," she answered crossly.Highacres
But next day the wind has hauled ahead, and she has to make her way by tacking.All Afloat
But it had taken a great deal of tacking and beating to keep to his course.Killykinick
Mary T. Waggaman
- a short sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat and comparatively large head
- British a long loose temporary stitch used in dressmaking, etc
- See tailor's-tack
- 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
- a course sailed by a sailing vessel with the wind blowing from forward of the beam
- one such course or a zigzag pattern of such courses
- a sheet for controlling the weather clew of a course
- 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
- (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
- informal food, esp when regarded as inferior or distastefulSee also hardtack
- riding harness for horses, such as saddles, bridles, etc
- (as modifier)the tack room
- a lease
- an area of land held on a lease
Word Origin and History for tacking
"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.
"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.
"food," 1833, perhaps a shortening and special use of tackle (n.) in the sense of "gear."
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.
"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.
Idioms and Phrases with tacking
see get down to brass tacks; on the right tack; sharp as a tack.