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 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 Important moments in the nation’s history ride off the coattails of religious festivals. Patrick Mulholland, National Review, "Easter Still Frames the Irish Response to Times of National Crisis," 13 Apr. 2020 Waller-Bridge came into this Emmys with long coattails. Christian Holub,, "Even before its big Emmy wins, Fleabag was the most popular topic on the red carpet," 23 Sep. 2019 And clinging to the coattails of all that hard seltzer are even more up-and-coming hard drinks that hope to join the club. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "17 New Hard Drinks the World Isn’t Ready For," 4 Mar. 2020 Last year's cuts came on the coattails of the US-China trade war, which weighed on investor and business sentiment. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "The Fed will cut rates in March, the market predicts," 28 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of coattail

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for coattail

Time Traveler

The first known use of coattail was circa 1600

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Statistics for coattail

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coattail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce coattail (audio)

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

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