Meaning of TAIL in English

TAIL

/ teɪl; NAmE / noun , verb

■ noun

OF BIRD / ANIMAL / FISH

1.

[ C ] the part that sticks out and can be moved at the back of the body of a bird, an animal or a fish :

The dog ran up, wagging its tail.

The male has beautiful tail feathers.

—picture at bird , fish

—see also ponytail

-TAILED

2.

(in adjectives) having the type of tail mentioned :

a white-tailed eagle

OF PLANE / SPACECRAFT

3.

[ C ] the back part of a plane, spacecraft , etc. :

the tail wing

—picture at plane

BACK / END OF STH

4.

[ C ] tail (of sth) a part of sth that sticks out at the back like a tail :

the tail of a kite

5.

[ C ] tail (of sth) the last part of sth that is moving away from you :

the tail of the procession

—see also tail end

JACKET

6.

tails [ pl. ] (also tail·coat [ C ]) a long jacket divided at the back below the waist into two pieces that become narrower at the bottom, worn by men at very formal events :

The men all wore top hat and tails.

—see also coat-tails , shirt tail

—compare dinner jacket , morning coat

SIDE OF COIN

7.

tails [ U ] the side of a coin that does not have a picture of the head of a person on it, used as one choice when a coin is tossed to decide sth

—compare heads noun (5)

PERSON WHO FOLLOWS SB

8.

[ C ] ( informal ) a person who is sent to follow sb secretly and find out information about where that person goes, what they do, etc. :

The police have put a tail on him .

►  tail·less adjective :

Manx cats are tailless.

IDIOMS

- on sb's tail

- the tail (is) wagging the dog

- turn tail

- with your tail between your legs

—more at bright-eyed , chase verb , head noun , nose noun , sting noun

■ verb

[ vn ] to follow sb closely, especially in order to watch where they go and what they do

SYN shadow :

A private detective had been tailing them for several weeks.

IDIOMS

see top verb

PHRASAL VERBS

- tail away / off

- tail back

••

WORD ORIGIN

Old English tæg(e)l , from a Germanic base meaning hair, hairy tail ; related to Middle Low German tagel twisted whip, rope's end. The early sense of the verb (early 16th cent.) was fasten to the back of something .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.