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

Macomb County’s top officials are using an unusual legal strategy in trying to unseat the 65-year-old Spranger, elected on President Donald Trump’s coattails as the county’s first Republican clerk in more than half a century. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Judge to rule on Macomb's maverick clerk Spranger: Fire her, keep her or let jury decide," 19 Mar. 2018 Al-Abadi, a member of al-Maliki's Dawa party, won his seat in parliament on al-Maliki's coattails. Fox News, "Al-Abadi defeated IS. Why won't he sweep Iraq's elections?," 11 May 2018 Bolze, whose team at Power had stretched so far in hopes of riding his coattails, was out. Thomas Gryta And Ted Mann, WSJ, "GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out," 14 Dec. 2018 Christina Animashaun/Vox Does President Donald Trump have electoral coattails? Jane Coaston, Vox, "How Trump’s favored midterm candidates performed," 7 Nov. 2018 Photo: Getty Senate Democrats—and Mr. Menendez—are also banking on a rare case of reverse coattails, in which the energy around the House candidates will help them hold the Senate seat. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Down-Ballot Democrats Prop Up Menendez," 9 Oct. 2018 Picking the Mighty Ducks name in Anaheim to ride the marketing coattails of a Disney movie was easy. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "What’s in a name? For Seattle’s future NHL team, more than meets the Sock-eye," 12 Aug. 2018 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

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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Coats Land





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Time Traveler for coattail

The first known use of coattail was circa 1600

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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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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).


a strong desire or propensity

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