coat·tail | \ ˈkōt-ˌtāl \

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

From there, the Bruins content to ride the coattails of one magical player and coast to a 7-3 win in Game 2 of the first round. Tim Hackett,, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Pastrnak, Bruins Blitz Maple Leafs for a 2-0 Series Lead," 15 Apr. 2018 One time, Just wrote, Hogan rode the coattails of a convention in Boise. Katherine Jones, idahostatesman, "'Jimmy the Stiff,' Boise's infamous town drunk, gets a proper toast a century later," 1 June 2018 Maduro has tried to ride Chavez's coattails since narrowly winning the presidency in 2013, but his popularity is now vastly diminished. Fox News, "Powerful, unpopular Venezuela leader faces opposition foes," 19 May 2018 There had been an open date after the Indy 500, and Texas rode its coattails as the race after. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Will IndyCar return to Texas Motor Speedway in 2019?," 12 June 2018 Early indications suggest the president-elect’s coattails will make his Morena front, which includes smaller parties, the largest coalition in both legislative chambers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Left Turn in Mexico," 1 July 2018 Al-Abadi, a member of al-Maliki’s Dawa party, won his seat in parliament on al-Maliki’s coattails. Washington Post, "Al-Abadi defeated IS. Why won’t he sweep Iraq’s elections?," 11 May 2018 Duque is considered the candidate to beat, but in an unexpected turn, Petro has been chasing his coattails. Christine Armario, Fox News, "Colombia's presidential election spawns fear, division," 25 May 2018 With no clear frontrunner in the #MTSen primary, Downing seems more than happy to ride Trump's coattails through the primaries. Dan Merica, CNN, "Michael Flynn to campaign for Montana Republican," 21 Apr. 2018

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

Dictionary Entries near coattail



Coats Land





Statistics for coattail

Last Updated

24 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coattail

The first known use of coattail was circa 1600

See more words from the same year

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

coattails : the help or influence of another person's work, ideas, or popularity

More from Merriam-Webster on coattail

See words that rhyme with coattail

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).


characteristic trappings or dress

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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