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

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)


dovetailed; dovetailing; dovetails

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


dovetail: 1 mortises, 2 tenons, 3 joint

In the meaning defined above

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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 This season, the Sooners will have goals that dovetail: stay consistent, avoid trap games, and make a deep playoff run. Scott Bell, Dallas News, 18 Aug. 2021 Their dark good looks dovetail with stained paneling used as a privacy screen, hugging the bed with texture and warmth. Jenny O’connor, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 July 2021 How will HBO Max and Warner Bros.'s DC strategy dovetail? Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 Here the standard types of joint, such as mortise and tenon, tongue and groove, and dovetail, are developed with ingenious intricacy. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, 20 Apr. 2021 The TikTok comments dovetail with messaging from Facebook Inc., where Thiel sits on the board of directors. Fortune, 8 Apr. 2021 The two concepts dovetail nicely, sharing the same online ordering platform, staff and kitchen set-up to drive down costs. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 19 Mar. 2021 The immunologic findings dovetail with what doctors have seen: Most children with MIS-C improve rapidly with therapies that suppress the immune system. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, 18 Mar. 2021 And keep an eye on it, as the mounts are known to walk on the 11mm dovetail traditionally found on airguns. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, 2 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The results of the study will need to dovetail with plans for rehabbing the lake section of the interior of the park — a design process well underway. Emily Opilo,, 9 Sep. 2021 Instead: When moving her two daughters into college, Ms. Hart steered them toward neutral, textured bed coverings that would dovetail with whatever their future roommates brought. Rachel Wolfe, WSJ, 18 Aug. 2021 The civil rights and Chicano movements of the 1960s didn't always dovetail perfectly, for geographical and other reasons. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 28 Aug. 2021 Forbes reported in April that some think Austal’s new steel capability, the Navy’s desire to get more frigates faster, and the Pentagon’s larger desire to sustain the industrial base for Navy shipbuilding all would dovetail together very neatly. al, 2 Aug. 2021 Bradt said the Bit Theater should dovetail nicely with The Comedy Shrine. Steve Lord,, 7 June 2021 Those initiatives would dovetail with the goals of EPSCoR, backers say, but would not be limited to institutions in EPSCoR states. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, 12 July 2021 These observations dovetail with an overall tempering of the market after a volatile few weeks. Nina Bambysheva, Forbes, 7 July 2021 That will dovetail with the promenade being built on the closed section of River, Bauer said. Steve Lord,, 5 July 2021

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.

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First Known Use of dovetail


1573, in the meaning defined above


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

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Learn More About dovetail

Time Traveler for dovetail

Time Traveler

The first known use of dovetail was in 1573

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Dictionary Entries Near dovetail

dove shell


dovetail cramp

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Statistics for dovetail

Last Updated

27 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dovetail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for dovetail



English Language Learners Definition of dovetail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on dovetail

Nglish: Translation of dovetail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dovetail for Arabic Speakers


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