Nearby words

  1. taiga,
  2. taiglach,
  3. taihoa,
  4. taihu,
  5. taikonaut,
  6. tail between one's legs, with one's,
  7. tail bud,
  8. tail coat,
  9. tail cone,
  10. tail covert

Idioms

    turn tail,
    1. to turn one's back on, as in aversion or fright.
    2. to run away from difficulty, opposition, etc.; flee: The sight of superior forces made the attackers turn tail.
    with one's tail between one's legs, utterly humiliated; defeated; cowed: They were forced to retreat with their tails between their legs.

Origin of tail

1
before 900; Middle English; Old English tægl; cognate with Old Norse tagl horse's tail, Gothic tagl hair, Middle High German zagel tail, Middle Low German tagel rope-end

Related forms
Can be confusedtail tale

Usage note

The meanings “sexual intercourse” and “female sexual partner” are both vulgar slang. When referring to a person, the term tail is usually used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting.

tail

2
[ teyl ]
/ teɪl /
Law.

noun

the limitation of an estate to a person and the person’s heirs or some particular class of such heirs.

adjective

limited to a specified line of heirs; entailed.

Origin of tail

2
1200–50; (noun) Middle English taille < Old French, derivative of taillier to cut < Late Latin tāliāre (see tailor1); (adj.) late Middle English taille < Anglo-French tailé cut, shaped, limited, past participle of tailler

Related formstail·less, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for tail


British Dictionary definitions for tail

tail

1
/ (teɪl) /

noun

verb


Derived Formstailless, adjectivetaillessly, adverbtaillessness, nountail-like, adjective

Word Origin for tail

Old English tægel; related to Old Norse tagl horse's tail, Gothic tagl hair, Old High German zagal tail

noun

the limitation of an estate or interest to a person and the heirs of his bodySee also entail

adjective

(immediately postpositive) (of an estate or interest) limited in this way
Derived Formstailless, adjective

Word Origin for tail

C15: from Old French taille a division; see tailor, tally

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 tail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tail

tail

[ tāl ]

n.

The posterior part of an animal, especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for tail

tail

[ tāl ]

The rear, elongated part of many animals, extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body. Tails are used variously for balance, combat, communication, mating displays, fat storage, propulsion and course correction in water, and course correction in air.
A long, stream of gas or dust forced from the head of a comet when it is close to the Sun. Tails can be up to 150 million km (93 million miles) long, and they always point away from the Sun because of the force of the solar wind.Plasma tails, or ion tails, appear bluish and straight and narrow, and are formed when solar wind forces ionized gas to stream off the coma. Dust tails are wide and curved, and are formed when solar heat forces trails of dust off the coma; solid particles reflecting the Sun's light create their bright yellow color.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with tail

tail

In addition to the idioms beginning with tail

  • tail between one's legs, with one's
  • tail end
  • tail off
  • tail wagging the dog, the

also see:

  • bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
  • can't make head or tail of
  • get off one's tail
  • heads or tails
  • in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)
  • on someone's coattails
  • tiger by the tail
  • turn tail
  • work one's fingers to the bone (tail off)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.