coat·​tail | \ ˈkōt-ˌtāl How to pronounce coattail (audio) \

Definition of coattail

1 : the rear flap of a man's coat
2 coattails plural : the skirts of a dress coat, cutaway, or frock coat
3 coattails plural : the influence or pulling power of a popular movement or person (such as a political candidate) congressmen riding into office on the president's coattails

Examples of coattail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the only other familiar face in the Nomadland cast, Strathairn seemed to have a shot at a coattail Supporting Actor nod. Nate Jones, Vulture, "Oscar Futures: Can Black Messiah Rise Again?," 19 Feb. 2021 Democrats are already tying Cornyn to the president in the hopes that Trump will be more of an albatross than coattail. Dallas News, "As impeachment trial ends, John Cornyn’s 2020 fate tied to Donald Trump," 3 Feb. 2020 Elmhurst arrived on the coattails of Oatly’s American debut. New York Times, "The Milk Situation," 14 Mar. 2020 But riding on someone else’s coattails doesn’t bother her. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "Tribute bands are big business in Dallas," 5 Feb. 2020 Indianapolis is in the middle of a massive effort to reinvent and reinvest in the White River — on the coattails of cleaner waterways resulting from the DigIndy tunnel. Sarah Bowman, IndyStar, "The White River: Cleanup follows decades of civil rights abuses. Now who will benefit?," 2 May 2020 And that means all the other festivals that travel on its coattails, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, are also to be silenced this year. Alexander Mccall Smith, Los Angeles Times, "What Alexander McCall Smith is reading, hearing and watching in quarantine," 9 Apr. 2020 In such a tidal wave, Trump’s coattails would be long and would install a heavy Republican majority in both houses of Congress. Conrad Black, National Review, "The Sanders Record," 25 Feb. 2020 And then another year Harvey Korman won and Tim Conway rode up on his coattails (seen below). Lynette Rice,, "The untold story of Emmy's 2011 comedy actress 'pageant'," 20 Sep. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of coattail

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about coattail

Time Traveler for coattail

Time Traveler

The first known use of coattail was circa 1600

See more words from the same year

Statistics for coattail

Cite this Entry

“Coattail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for coattail



English Language Learners Definition of coattail

: a long piece of cloth that hangs down at the back of a man's formal coat
: the help or influence of another person's work, ideas, or popularity

Comments on coattail

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!