Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

turn tail

Definition of turn tail

informal

  1. :  to turn around and run away from danger, trouble, etc. <You can't just turn tail and run from your problems.>



Word by Word Definitions

turnplay
  1. :  to cause to move around an axis or a center :  make rotate or revolve

    :  to cause to move around so as to effect a desired end (as of locking, opening, or shutting)

    :  to affect or alter the functioning of (as a mechanical device) or the level of (as sound) by such movement

  1. :  the action or an act of turning about a center or axis :  revolution, rotation

    :  any of various rotating or pivoting movements in dancing or gymnastics

    : :  the action or an act of giving or taking a different direction :  change of course or posture : as

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

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

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

  1. :  to connect end to end

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

    :  to remove the stem or bottom part of

  1. :  entail

  1. :  limited as to tenure :  entailed


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up turn tail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to manage or play awkwardly

Get Word of the Day daily email!