cat·​tail ˈkat-ˌtāl How to pronounce cattail (audio)
: any of a genus (Typha of the family Typhaceae, the cattail family) of tall reedy marsh plants with brown furry fruiting spikes
especially : a plant (Typha latifolia) with long flat leaves used especially for making mats and chair seats

Examples of cattail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Skunk cabbage and buttercups, cattails, polliwogs and crayfish with their pulse-train song. Carolyn Forché, The Atlantic, 24 Mar. 2024 Outside the city, the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a viewing party amid the cattail marshes and grasslands. Melissa Locker, TIME, 6 Apr. 2024 Each element was meant to represent different aspects of the city’s image — acorns for legacy and history, the hawk for vision and stewardship, cattails for peace and prosperity, flowers for beauty and balance, and the fog to highlight the city as part of the larger Bay Area. Sierra Lopez, The Mercury News, 20 Mar. 2024 In an experiment using a replica of the artifact, a small team of researchers successfully created a rope made from cattail reeds. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 This spur trail off the adjacent greenway carries you over some grassy wetlands with regenerating hardwoods and a cattail marsh. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 An Eastern phoebe perched on a cattail stem and an incoming swamp sparrow called from the thick grass. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Behind the pale trunks of quaking aspens and bright orange autumn leaves are rows of cattails, and together, the composition looked to the photographer as if it had been painted, per a statement. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Jan. 2024 Fulvous nests can usually be found among tall reeds, cattails, and other brush. M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 10 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cattail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cattail was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near cattail

Cite this Entry

“Cattail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


cat·​tail ˈkat-ˌtāl How to pronounce cattail (audio)
: a tall marsh plant that bears very tiny flowers and fruit in brown furry spikes at the end of long stalks

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