dovetail

noun
dove·tail | \ˈdəv-ˌtāl \

Definition of dovetail 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: something resembling a dove's tail especially : a flaring tenon and a mortise into which it fits tightly making an interlocking joint between two pieces (as of wood)

dovetail

verb

Definition of dovetail (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to join by means of dovetails

b : to cut to a dovetail

2a : to fit skillfully to form a whole

b : to fit together with

intransitive verb

: to fit together into a whole

Illustration of dovetail

Illustration of dovetail

Noun

dovetail: 1 mortises, 2 tenons, 3 joint

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of dovetail in a Sentence

Verb

the Union and the Confederate accounts of the battle don't dovetail at all

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Storr argues that this uncompassionate edge of self-esteemery dovetails with the economic ideas of Ayn Rand and the competitive individualism of her followers in neoliberal politics. Anthony Gottlieb, New York Times, "How We Got to Be So Self-Absorbed: The Long Story," 21 June 2018 Using dovetails and other old-fashioned woodcuts, Sebastian Errazuriz makes furniture that seems fresh, new, and even a bit on this side of living and breathing. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Transforming Cabinets Move in Ways That Boggle the Mind," 22 June 2015 His adventures as an asylum-seeker dovetail with current headlines about U.S. immigration policies and international human rights issues. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "A Mesmerizing 'Merchant Of Venice' As Arts & Ideas Hits Its Stride," 21 June 2018 The cabinets, painted a soft white cream, were built to last, with dovetail joinery and quality hardware. James Alexander, courant.com, "Property of the Week: 85 Memorial Drive, West Hartford," 27 July 2017 Fire Resistant The company’s push dovetails nicely with a government plan to reform Portugal’s forests, following last year’s deadly fires. Bloomberg.com, "Portugal Doubles Down on Cork After Demand Revives in Wine Business," 28 Mar. 2018 The increase in spending dovetails with Trump’s recently released strategy for national defense, which cites the rise of adversaries like Russia and China. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "State of the Union fact check: Fully fund Pentagon; caps have been busted before," 30 Jan. 2018 The techniques and tools used today to hand carve dovetail joints has changed little. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Build a Wooden Tool Tote Using Dovetails and No Power Tools," 29 Feb. 2016 In 2017, Trump’s previous pro-wrestling playacting dovetails neatly, and in gif form, with an attack on the Fourth Estate. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "Conspiracy Theories Are for Underdogs," 22 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It is designed to dovetail with state law that bans discrimination in public places on the basis of gender identity or expression and the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, Lawlor said. Pat Eaton-robb, courant.com, "Law: Trans Inmates In Connecticut Will Be Housed Appropriately," 26 May 2018 Those remarks, which appear to dovetail with Shah's assessment of blame, were not included in an official White House transcript of Kushner's speech. NBC News, "White House backs Kushner, blames Hamas for Palestinian deaths," 14 May 2018 And within months the women’s mission began to dovetail with the growing chorus of those saying #MeToo, and momentum for #MuteRKelly picked up. Joe Coscarelli, BostonGlobe.com, "After years of allegations, R. Kelly faces a #MeToo reckoning," 1 May 2018 Both him and, now, indirectly, his team, where the lessons of navigating the pressure of the last seconds of a playoff game dovetail nicely to the challenges of coaxing fish from the bottom of a distant lake. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "How basketball helped make Adrian College a powerhouse — in bass fishing," 30 June 2018 There’s undoubtedly a story to be told about a noble dinosaur-rescue mission that goes horribly awry, and the plotline dovetails nicely with the warning bells the film sounds about the dangers of genetic manipulation. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a stunning disappointment," 22 June 2018 The push against President Trump’s policy has dovetailed nicely for Mr. Cuomo’s recent embrace of broader national themes, evidenced by his increasingly vocal attacks on Washington’s and New York’s congressional Republicans. Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "Cuomo Jumps to the Front Line in Battle Over Separated Children," 22 June 2018 Desmond travels with a couple of helpers, including a young woman whose interest in saving primitive environments dovetails with the piano teacher’s obsession with education and culture. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Piano to Zanskar': Film Review | Edinburgh 2018," 5 July 2018 Often Hearst and Snap dovetail beautifully around marketing initiatives or meeting advertisers, and my worlds collide really efficiently. Jessica Prince Erlich, The Cut, "How I Get It Done: Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dovetail.' 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 dovetail

Noun

1573, in the meaning defined above

Verb

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dovetail

Statistics for dovetail

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dovetail

The first known use of dovetail was in 1573

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dovetail

dovetail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dovetail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a type of joint that is used to connect two pieces of wood together

dovetail

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dovetail (Entry 2 of 2)

: to join (two pieces of wood) with dovetail joints

: to fit together in a pleasing or satisfying way

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on dovetail

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

WORD OF THE DAY

evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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