the hindmost part of an animal, especially that forming a distinct, flexible appendage to the trunk.
something resembling or suggesting this in shape or position:
the tail of a kite.
Astronomy. the luminous stream extending from the head of a comet.
the reverse of a coin (opposed to head).
Aeronautics. the after portion of an airplane or the like.
the tapering skirts or ends at the back of a coat, especially a tail coat.
men’s full-dress attire.
Distilling. alcohol obtained in the final distillation.
Compare head (def 22).
Slang. the buttocks or rump.
Informal. a person who trails or keeps a close surveillance of another, as a detective or spy:
The police decided to put a tail on the suspect.
Informal. the trail of a fleeing person or animal:
They put a detective on his tail.
Usually Disparaging and Offensive. a woman considered as a sex object.
the hinder, bottom, or end part of anything; the rear.
a final or concluding part of a sentence, conversation, social gathering, etc.; conclusion; end:
The tail of the speech was boring. Toward the tail of the concert I’d begun to get tired.
the inferior or unwanted part of anything.
a long braid or tress of hair.
an arrangement of objects or persons extending as or as if a tail.
a line of persons awaiting their turns at something; queue.
a retinue; train.
the lower part of a pool or stream.
the exposed portion of a piece of roofing, as a slate.
Printing, Bookbinding. the bottom of a page or book.
Printing. the lower portion of a type, as of g, y, or Q.
coming from behind:
a tail breeze.
being in the back or rear:
the tail section of a plane.
verb (used with object)
Informal. to follow in order to hinder escape of or to observe:
to tail a suspect.
to form or furnish with a tail.
to form or constitute the tail or end of (a procession, retinue, etc.).
to terminate; come after or behind; follow like a tail.
to join or attach (one thing) at the tail or end of another.
Building Trades. to fasten (a beam, stone, etc.) by one end (usually followed by in or into).
to dock the tail of (a horse, dog, etc.).
verb (used without object)
to follow close behind:
She always tails after her sister.
to disappear gradually or merge into:
The path tails off into the woods.
to form, or move or pass in, a line or column suggestive of a tail:
The hikers tailed up the narrow path.
(of a boat) to have or take a position with the stern in a particular direction.
Building Trades. (of a beam, stone, etc.) to be fastened by one end (usually followed by in or into).
to turn one’s back on, as in aversion or fright.
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.
the limitation of an estate to a person and the person’s heirs or some particular class of such heirs.
limited to a specified line of heirs; entailed.
the region of the vertebrate body that is posterior to or above the anus and contains an elongation of the vertebral column, esp forming a flexible movable appendage related adjective caudal
anything resembling such an appendage in form or position; the bottom, lowest, or rear part: the tail of a shirt
the last part or parts: the tail of the storm
the rear part of an aircraft including the fin, tailplane, and control surfaces; empennage
(astronomy) the luminous stream of gas and dust particles, up to 200 million kilometres long, driven from the head of a comet, when close to the sun, under the effect of the solar wind and light pressure
the rear portion of a bomb, rocket, missile, etc, usually fitted with guiding or stabilizing vanes
a line of people or things
a long braid or tress of hair: a ponytail, a pigtail
(angling) Also called tailfly. the lowest fly on a wet-fly cast
a final short line in a stanza
(informal) a person employed to follow and spy upon another or others
an informal word for buttocks See buttock
the female genitals
a woman considered sexually (esp in the phrases piece of tail, bit of tail)
the margin at the foot of a page
the bottom edge of a book
the lower end of a pool or part of a stream
(informal) the course or track of a fleeing person or animal: the police are on my tail
(modifier) coming from or situated in the rear: a tail wind
turn tail, to run away; escape
with one’s tail between one’s legs, in a state of utter defeat or confusion
to form or cause to form the tail
to remove the tail of (an animal); dock
(transitive) to remove the stalk of: to top and tail the gooseberries
(transitive) to connect (objects, ideas, etc) together by or as if by the tail
(transitive) (informal) to follow stealthily
(transitive) (Austral) to tend (cattle) on foot
(intransitive) (of a vessel) to assume a specified position, as when at a mooring
to build the end of (a brick, joist, etc) into a wall or (of a brick, etc) to have one end built into a wall
the limitation of an estate or interest to a person and the heirs of his body See also entail
(immediately postpositive) (of an estate or interest) limited in this way
The posterior part of an animal, especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body.
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.
noun, Football. 1. the offensive back who lines up farthest behind the line of scrimmage, as in a single wingback or double wingback formation. 2. the position played by this back. noun 1. a queue of traffic stretching back from an obstruction
noun 1. a band sewn or glued to the tail of a book. Compare headband (def 3).
noun 1. the tailgate, especially of a wagon or truck. noun 1. a board at the rear of a lorry, wagon, etc, that can be removed or let down on a hinge
noun, Anatomy. 1. the coccyx. tailbone tail·bone (tāl’bōn’) n. See coccyx. tailbone (tāl’bōn’) See coccyx. tagging crew