Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of tail
Meaning of tail by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Two ring-tailed lemurs, each with a long tail.


    From Old English tæġel. In some senses, apparently by a generalization of the usual opposition between head and tail .


    • Homophone: tale
    • Rhymes: -eɪl


    tail ( plural: tails )

    1. ( anatomy ) The caudal appendage of an animal that is attached to its posterior and near the anus .
      Most primates have a tail, and even early humans did .
    2. The tail-end of an object, e.g. the rear of an aircraft's fuselage, containing the tailfin .
      When a grumpy client of the frat's annual carwash complained the tail of his menure-soiled tractor wasn't completely cleaned, the poor pledges had to drop trou and bend over to get their own tails paddled in public .
    3. An object or part thereof resembling a tail in shape, such as the thongs on a cat-o'-nine-tails or other multi-tail whip .
    4. The rear structure of an aircraft, the empennage
    5. Specifically, the visible stream of dust and gases blown from a comet by the solar wind .
    6. The latter part of a time period or event, or ( collectively ) persons or objects represented in this part .
    7. ( statistics ) The part of a distribution most distant from the mode; as, a long tail .
    8. One who surreptitiously follows another .
    9. ( cricket ) The last four or five batsmen in the batting order, usually specialist bowlers .
    10. ( typography ) The lower loop of the letters in the Roman alphabet, as in g, q or y .
    11. ( chiefly in the plural: ) The side of a coin not bearing the head; normally the side on which the monetary value of the coin is indicated; the reverse .
    12. ( mathematics ) All the last terms of a sequence, from some term on .
      A sequence ( a_n ) is said to be frequently 0 if every tail of the sequence contains 0 .
    13. ( now colloquial ) The buttocks or backside.
    14. ( slang ) The male member of a person or animal .
      After the burly macho nudists' polar bear dip, their tails were spectacularly shrunk, so they looked like an immature kid's innocent tail
    15. ( slang, uncountable ) Sexual intercourse .
      I'm gonna get me some tail tonight .
    16. ( kayaking ) the stern; the back of the kayak .
    17. ( law ) limitation of inheritance to certain heirs .
      tail male limitation to male heirs
      in tail subject to such a limitation


    See also

    • caudal



    1. ( law ) Limited .


    • alit, ital, lati, LIAT, tali

Explanation of tail by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. remove the stalk of fruits or berries

    2. remove or shorten the tail of an animal

    3. go after with the intent to catch

    1. the posterior part of the body of a vertebrate especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body

    2. the rear part of a ship

    3. the rear part of an aircraft

    4. the reverse side of a coin that does not bear the representation of a person's head

    5. the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on

    6. a spy employed to follow someone and report their movements

    7. any projection that resembles the tail of an animal

    8. the time of the last part of something

    9. the tail of the storm

    Definition of tail by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Tail n. [F. taille a cutting. See Entail, Tally.] ( Law ) Limitation; abridgment. Burrill.

      Estate in tail, a limited, abridged, or reduced fee; an estate limited to certain heirs, and from which the other heirs are precluded; -- called also estate tail. Blackstone.

    2. Tail, a. ( Law ) Limited; abridged; reduced; curtailed; as, “estate tail”.

    3. Tail, n. [AS. taegel, taegl; akin to G. zagel, Icel. tagl, Sw. tagel, Goth. tagl hair. √59.]
      1. ( Zool. ) The terminal, and usually flexible, posterior appendage of an animal.

      ☞ The tail of mammals and reptiles contains a series of movable vertebrae, and is covered with flesh and hairs or scales like those of other parts of the body. The tail of existing birds consists of several more or less consolidated vertebrae which supports a fanlike group of quills to which the term tail is more particularly applied. The tail of fishes consists of the tapering hind portion of the body ending in a caudal fin. The term tail is sometimes applied to the entire abdomen of a crustacean or insect, and sometimes to the terminal piece or pygidium alone.

      2. Any long, flexible terminal appendage; whatever resembles, in shape or position, the tail of an animal, as a catkin.

      Doretus writes a great praise of the distilled waters of those tails that hang on willow trees. Harvey.

      3. Hence, the back, last, lower, or inferior part of anything, -- as opposed to the head, or the superior part.

      The Lord will make thee the head, and not the tail. Deut. xxviii. 13.

      4. A train or company of attendants; a retinue.

      “Ah,” said he, “if you saw but the chief with his tail on.” Sir W. Scott.

      5. The side of a coin opposite to that which bears the head, effigy, or date; the reverse; -- rarely used except in the expression “heads or tails,” employed when a coin is thrown up for the purpose of deciding some point by its fall.

      6. ( Anat. ) The distal tendon of a muscle.

      7. ( Bot. ) A downy or feathery appendage to certain achenes. It is formed of the permanent elongated style.

      8. ( Surg. ) A portion of an incision, at its beginning or end, which does not go through the whole thickness of the skin, and is more painful than a complete incision; -- called also tailing. One of the strips at the end of a bandage formed by splitting the bandage one or more times.

      9. ( Naut. ) A rope spliced to the strap of a block, by which it may be lashed to anything.

      10. ( Mus. ) The part of a note which runs perpendicularly upward or downward from the head; the stem. Moore ( Encyc. of Music ).

      11. pl. Same as Tailing, 4.

      12. ( Arch. ) The bottom or lower portion of a member or part, as a slate or tile.

      13. pl. ( Mining ) See Tailing, n., 5.

      14. ( Astronomy ) the long visible stream of gases, ions, or dust particles extending from the head of a comet in the direction opposite to the sun.

      15. pl. ( Rope Making ) In some forms of rope-laying machine, pieces of rope attached to the iron bar passing through the grooven wooden top containing the strands, for wrapping around the rope to be laid.

      16. pl. A tailed coat; a tail coat. [Colloq. or Dial.]

      17. ( Aeronautics ) In airplanes, an airfoil or group of airfoils used at the rear to confer stability.

      18. the buttocks. [slang or vulgar]

      19. sexual intercourse, or a woman used for sexual intercourse; as, “to get some tail; to find a piece of tail”. See also tailing{3. [slang and vulgar]

      Tail beam. ( Arch. ) Same as Tailpiece. -- Tail coverts ( Zool. ), the feathers which cover the bases of the tail quills. They are sometimes much longer than the quills, and form elegant plumes. Those above the quills are called the upper tail coverts, and those below, the under tail coverts. -- Tail end, the latter end; the termination; as, “the tail end of a contest”. [Colloq.] -- Tail joist. ( Arch. ) Same as Tailpiece. -- Tail of a comet ( Astron. ), a luminous train extending from the nucleus or body, often to a great distance, and usually in a direction opposite to the sun. -- Tail of a gale ( Naut. ), the latter part of it, when the wind has greatly abated. Totten. -- Tail of a lock ( on a canal ), the lower end, or entrance into the lower pond. -- Tail of the trenches ( Fort. ), the post where the besiegers begin to break ground, and cover themselves from the fire of the place, in advancing the lines of approach. -- Tail spindle, the spindle of the tailstock of a turning lathe; -- called also dead spindle. --
      To turn tail, to run away; to flee.

      Would she turn tail to the heron, and fly quite out another way; but all was to return in a higher pitch. Sir P. Sidney.

    4. Tail, v. t.
      1. To follow or hang to, like a tail; to be attached closely to, as that which can not be evaded. [Obs.]

      Nevertheless his bond of two thousand pounds, wherewith he was tailed, continued uncanceled, and was called on the next Parliament. Fuller.

      2. To pull or draw by the tail. [R.] Hudibras.

      To tail in or To tail on ( Arch. ), to fasten by one of the ends into a wall or some other support; as, “to tail in a timber”.

    5. Tail, v. i.
      1. ( Arch. ) To hold by the end; -- said of a timber when it rests upon a wall or other support; -- with in or into.

      2. ( Naut. ) To swing with the stern in a certain direction; -- said of a vessel at anchor; as, “this vessel tails down stream”.

      Tail on. ( Naut. ) See Tally on, under Tally.