Meaning of TAIL in English


I. ˈtāl noun

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English tægel; akin to Old High German zagal tail, Middle Irish dúal lock of hair

Date: before 12th century

1. : the rear end or a process or prolongation of the rear end of the body of an animal

2. : something resembling an animal's tail in shape or position: as

a. : a luminous stream of particles, gases, or ions extending from a comet especially in the antisolar direction

b. : the rear part of an airplane consisting usually of horizontal and vertical stabilizing surfaces with attached control surfaces

3. : retinue

4. plural

a. : tailcoat

b. : full evening dress for men


a. : buttocks, butt

b. usually vulgar : sexual intercourse

6. : the back, last, lower, or inferior part of something

7. : tailing 1 — usually used in plural

8. : the reverse of a coin — usually used in plural

tail s, I win

9. : one (as a detective) who follows or keeps watch on someone

10. : the blank space at the bottom of a page

11. : a location immediately or not far behind

had a posse on his tail

• tailed ˈtāld adjective

• tail·less ˈtāl-ləs adjective

• tail·like -ˌlīk adjective

II. verb

Date: 1523

transitive verb

1. : to connect end to end


a. : to remove the tail of (an animal) : dock

b. : to remove the stem or bottom part of

topping and tail ing gooseberries


a. : to make or furnish with a tail

b. : to follow or be drawn behind like a tail

4. : to follow for purposes of surveillance

intransitive verb

1. : to form or move in a straggling line

2. : to grow progressively smaller, fainter, or more scattered : abate — usually used with off

productivity is tail ing off — Tom Nicholson

3. : to swing or lie with the stern in a named direction — used of a ship at anchor

4. : tag II

• tail·er noun

III. noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from tailler

Date: 14th century

: entail 1a

IV. adjective

Etymology: Middle English taille, from Anglo-French taylé, past participle of tailler to cut, limit — more at tailor

Date: 15th century

: limited as to tenure : entailed

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.