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 How does this dovetail with Adam Silver's softer approach to dealing with players? -- Stuart. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Is the over/under 0 for Waiters’ Heat appearances this season?," 11 Nov. 2019 The Malabar House’s reputation as Fort Kochi’s leading art hotel dovetails with the enclave’s emergence as one of India’s artistic hotbeds, thanks in part to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, now South Asia’s largest art show. Alexandra Kirkman, Fortune, "Why You Should Visit Southern India on Your Next Vacation," 22 June 2019 That the present and past dovetail so harmoniously illustrates one of Saban’s most defining characteristics: Consistency. Rainer Sabin |,, "The genius of Alabama coach Nick Saban found in YouTube classic videos," 5 June 2019 His decision to eliminate bleach dovetails with J Brand’s own commitment to more sustainable practices. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Kozaburo Akasaka, Last Year’s LVMH Special Prize Winner, Is Launching His First-Ever Women’s Jeans," 21 Mar. 2019 This method of collecting dovetails nicely with Rennell’s work, which involves creating and curating clothing and home goods for her online shop, Beklina. Marley Marius, Vogue, "No Corners or Closets: What It’s Like to Live in a California “Spaceship House”," 27 Aug. 2018 The norms promoted at Friday’s meeting dovetail with EU laws and rules used by organizations like the World Bank, which don’t always apply in counties where China has been active. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "European and Asian Nations Join U.S.’s Economic Pushback Against China," 19 Oct. 2018 The ending of your book dovetails with the arrival of social media. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Inside Marc Jacobs: Unseen, a Book of Backstage Photography by Robert Fairer, Who Shot the Designer’s Earliest Shows," 12 Sep. 2018 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This is especially true given its advocacy of a wealth tax, which dovetails with the proposals of progressive presidential candidates such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. Joshua R. Hendrickson, National Review, "An Oversimplified, Misleading Argument about Inequality and Taxes," 20 Nov. 2019 But one of the lesser known royal love triangles—which dovetails with that one—is the one between Princess Anne (Charles' sister), Andrew Parker Bowles, and Camilla, who would later go on to be Andrew's wife, and then ex-wife. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Did Princess Anne and Andrew Parker Bowles Date, Per 'The Crown'?," 4 Nov. 2019 Those zones also happen to dovetail with the majority of the 125 to 150 city-owned or Cuyahoga County land-banked vacant lots in Cleveland Heights, noted City Business Development Manager Brian Anderson. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cleveland Heights to matriculate student loan incentive program for homebuyers," 8 Oct. 2019 That musical mood dovetails nicely with the vibe of a group that began on a lark in 2007 and has steadily grown into an act that crisscrosses the country to play for its own devoted fans., "Yacht Rock Revue explain why they're charting a new course with original music," 24 Oct. 2019 The housing numbers dovetail with data that shows wages are growing at a rate higher than inflation and the unemployment rate is near a 50-year low. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Will the housing market continue to prop up the US economy?," 22 Oct. 2019 Anyway, the promo dovetails with news that the Surviving tag is being spun off into a full-blown series. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Doom delayed until March, Call of Duty's 175GB install," 11 Oct. 2019 Those reforms dovetailed nicely with the Metropolitan Council, an agency the legislature had created several years earlier to coordinate land use and guide development across the seven-county region. Peter Krouse,, "What can Minnesota teach us about sharing? Cleveland 2030, A Way Forward," 16 Sep. 2019 Other political efforts dovetailed with his art, which veered from grand 80-foot-long sculptures to whimsical hand puppets and felt hats. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Francisco Toledo, Mexican artist and activist known as ‘El Maestro,’ dies at 79," 8 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for dovetail

Time Traveler

The first known use of dovetail was in 1573

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Statistics for dovetail

Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dovetail.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for dovetail


How to pronounce dovetail (audio)

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
formal : to fit together in a pleasing or satisfying way

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Comments on dovetail

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