Meaning of TAIL in English
/ teɪl; NAmE / noun , verb
OF BIRD / ANIMAL / FISH
[ 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
(in adjectives) having the type of tail mentioned :
a white-tailed eagle
OF PLANE / SPACECRAFT
[ C ] the back part of a plane, spacecraft , etc. :
the tail wing
—picture at plane
BACK / END OF STH
[ C ] tail (of sth) a part of sth that sticks out at the back like a tail :
the tail of a kite
[ C ] tail (of sth) the last part of sth that is moving away from you :
the tail of the procession
—see also tail end
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
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
[ 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.
- 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
[ 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.
see top verb
- tail away / off
- tail back
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. 2005