cat·​tail | \ ˈkat-ˌtāl How to pronounce cattail (audio) \

Definition of cattail

: 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

Too much phosphorus can cause cattails and other plants to grow in the sparse marshes and interrupt the flow of water and over-stimulate seagrasses. Jenny Staletovich,, "New Study Says Everglades Water Is Harming Keys Corals. Not Everyone Agrees.," 28 July 2019 The trails, some stilted over small streams and bogs, follow a loop that can be walked in 30 minutes at a leisurely pace, but the cattails are tall enough to block out the view of town, and birdsong soon replaces the sound of cars on the Boulevard. Brian Coyne,, "One Day, One Place: Mount Shasta, California," 11 July 2019 But even a slight change in nutrients commonly found in farm fields or canals that contain stormwater runoff can cause heavy damage and choke marshes with cattails. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Could raising a 90-year-old road fix South Florida's water problems?," 18 June 2018 Several male red-winged blackbirds occupied their little cattail empires at the pond’s edge. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge is a perfect spot for leisurely birding | Charlotte Observer," 4 May 2018 Prudent, who went along for the ride, explained how Native Americans used cattails for food and to make clothing. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "DNR hosts free events for public to explore Lake Michigan Water Trail," 1 July 2018 In the cattails surrounding the pond there will be another show as damsel and dragonflies compete with mountain wildflowers to add reds and blues to the spring landscape. Ernie Cowan,, "Visit the High Sierra with a trip to Palomar Mountain," 11 May 2018 The Horicon Marsh in Horicon is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in all of America, where 300 different kinds of birds have been recorded. Carla Minsky, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Travel is Good for the Soul," 10 June 2018 But overlooking this 32,000-acre marsh, the country’s largest freshwater cattail marsh, would be overlooking a natural treasure, with quaint nearby towns offering restaurants and lodging for a great getaway. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "By boat, bike or foot, Horicon Marsh is a Wisconsin treasure," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cattail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cattail

1548, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

1 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for cattail

The first known use of cattail was in 1548

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English Language Learners Definition of cattail

US : a tall plant that has long flat leaves and that grows in wet areas


cat·​tail | \ ˈkat-ˌtāl How to pronounce cattail (audio) \

Kids Definition of cattail

: a tall plant with long flat leaves and tall furry stalks that grows in marshy areas

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More from Merriam-Webster on cattail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cattail

Spanish Central: Translation of cattail

Nglish: Translation of cattail for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cattail

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


to shake or wave menacingly

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