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 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 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

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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The first known use of coattail was circa 1600

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Cite this Entry

“Coattail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 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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