dovetail

1 of 2

noun

dove·​tail ˈdəv-ˌtāl How to pronounce dovetail (audio)
: 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)

Illustration of dovetail

Illustration of dovetail
  • 1 mortises
  • 2 tenons
  • 3 joint

dovetail

2 of 2

verb

dovetailed; dovetailing; dovetails

transitive verb

1
a
: to join by means of dovetails
b
: to cut to a dovetail
2
a
: to fit skillfully to form a whole
b
: to fit together with

intransitive verb

: to fit together into a whole

Example Sentences

Verb the Union and the Confederate accounts of the battle don't dovetail at all
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Some state psychedelic programs, such as those in Texas and Connecticut, dovetail with existing federal policies. WIRED, 2 Nov. 2022 But prices are plummeting as worries about a slowdown in industrial activity across major economies dovetail with slumping demand in China. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 1 July 2022 The black-on-white pigment is arrayed in tight curves that alternately dovetail or interlock. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 Similarly, there are other home projects that dovetail well with new siding. Jon Gorey, BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2022 At the heart of Kamala Khan is a young girl deciding what her values are, where religion fits (and doesn’t) into her life and how generations of heartache dovetail with her story. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 13 July 2022 But shouldn’t that notion dovetail with business strategy as well? Adrian Bridgwater, Forbes, 4 July 2022 The report’s findings dovetail with the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found a slight increase in the number of abortions from 2018 to 2019, the last year for which the CDC had data. Pam Belluck, BostonGlobe.com, 15 June 2022 These results dovetail with a recent Axios poll that found millennials wanted to work remotely more than any other generation—84% versus 75% of Gen X, 68% of Baby Boomers, and 66% of Gen Z. Jane Thier, Fortune, 14 June 2022
Verb
Above, the sky is both beacon and omen, as dark clouds dovetail over a low sun. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Aug. 2022 The fresh flavors dovetail with the lightness of spring, the season when all things—even color schemes—are new again. Krissa Rossbund, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2022 Climate policy will likely dovetail with pandemic relief plans. Justine Calma, The Verge, 20 Jan. 2021 The objectives have the potential to dovetail with the company’s broader ambitions. Michelle Toh, CNN, 17 Oct. 2022 Snack season might dovetail with school and sports for some families, but for an increasing number of us, snacks and small meals are the new normal. Kristine M. Kierzek, Journal Sentinel, 27 Sep. 2022 It is specifically designed to dovetail with medical-grade ingredients to soothe, calm, and repair the skin. Cécilia Pelloux, Forbes, 2 June 2022 Such readings often dovetail with many conservative policy goals, from the dismantling of the regulatory state to the defense of gun rights. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 28 Aug. 2022 And this is where Cross’s path begins to dovetail with McLeod’s again. The Indianapolis Star, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1573, in the meaning defined above

Verb

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of dovetail was in 1573

Dictionary Entries Near dovetail

Cite this Entry

“Dovetail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dovetail. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

dovetail 1 of 2

noun

dove·​tail -ˌtāl How to pronounce dovetail (audio)
: something shaped like a dove's tail
especially : a joint between two pieces (as of wood) formed by a wedge-shaped part that fits tightly into a wedge-shaped slot in the other piece

dovetail

2 of 2

verb

1
a
: to join by means of dovetails
b
: to cut to a dovetail
2
: to fit skillfully together to form a whole

More from Merriam-Webster on dovetail

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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