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verb en·tail \in-ˈtāl, en-\

Simple Definition of entail

  • : to have (something) as a part, step, or result

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of entail

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to restrict (property) by limiting the inheritance to the owner's lineal descendants or to a particular class thereof

  3. 2 a :  to confer, assign, or transmit (something) for an indefinitely long time :  to confer, assign, or transmit as if by entail <entailed on them indelible disgrace — Robert Browning> b :  to fix (a person) permanently in some condition or status <entail him and his heirs unto the crown — Shakespeare>

  4. 3 :  to impose, involve, or imply as a necessary accompaniment or result <the project will entail considerable expense>


play \-ˈtā-lər\ noun


play \-ˈtāl-mənt\ noun

Examples of entail in a sentence

  1. Pregnancy involves the bodily dependence of the unborn child on its mother; in many cases, it entails a significant physical burden. —Cathleen Kaveny, Commonweal, 4 May 2007

  2. … it was a Master Highlighter Event, a two-day guest appearance by one of Kinkade's specially trained assistants, who would highlight any picture bought during the event for free. Highlighting a picture is not that different from highlighting your hair: it entails stippling tiny bright dots of paint on the picture to give it more texture and luminescence. —Susan Orlean, New Yorker, 15 Oct. 2001

  3. Life is a difficult and complicated enterprise. It entails joy but also suffering, gain but also loss, hope but also despair. —Neal Gabler, Life: The Movie, 1998

  4. Discourse is a social as well as an intellectual activity; it entails interaction between minds, and it revolves around something possessed in common. —David A. Hollinger, In the American Province, (1985) 1992

  5. He accepted the responsibility, with all that it entails.

  6. <a lavish wedding entails extensive planning and often staggering expense>

Origin and Etymology of entail

Middle English entailen, entaillen, from 1en- + taile, taille limitation — more at tail

First Known Use: 14th century



noun en·tail \ˈen-ˌtāl, in-ˈtāl\

Definition of entail

  1. 1 a :  a restriction especially of lands by limiting the inheritance to the owner's lineal descendants or to a particular class thereof b :  an entailed (see 1entail) estate

  2. 2 :  something transmitted as if by entail

Origin and Etymology of entail

(see 1entail)

First Known Use: 14th century

Law Dictionary



transitive verb en·tail \in-ˈtāl\

Legal Definition of entail

  1. :  to make (an estate in real property) a fee tail :  limit the descent of (real property) by restricting inheritance to specific descendants who cannot convey or transfer the property <estates are entailed entire on the eldest male heir — Benjamin Franklin>



Origin and Etymology of entail

Middle English entaillen, from en-, causative prefix + taille restriction on inheritance — see tail



noun en·tail

Legal Definition of entail

  1. 1 :  an act or instance of entailing real property; also :  the practice of entailing property <the repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and perpetuation of wealth in select families — Thomas Jefferson> — see also De Donis Conditionalibus

  2. 2 :  an entailed estate in real property <if entails had not become barrable — Eileen Spring>

  3. 3 :  the fixed line of descent of an entailed estate

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having a blissful appearance

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