en·​tail | \ in-ˈtāl How to pronounce entail (audio) , en- \
entailed; entailing; entails

Definition of entail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to impose, involve, or imply as a necessary accompaniment or result the project will entail considerable expense
2 : to restrict (property) by limiting the inheritance to the owner's lineal descendants or to a particular class thereof
3a : to confer, assign, or transmit (something) for an indefinitely long time : to confer, assign, or transmit as if by entail entailed on them indelible disgrace— Robert Browning
b : to fix (a person) permanently in some condition or status entail him and his heirs unto the crown— William Shakespeare


en·​tail | \ ˈen-ˌtāl How to pronounce entail (audio) , in-ˈtāl How to pronounce entail (audio) \

Definition of entail (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a restriction especially of lands by limiting the inheritance to the owner's lineal descendants or to a particular class thereof
b : an entailed (see entail entry 1 sense 2) estate
2 : something transmitted as if by entail

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Other Words from entail


entailer \ in-​ˈtā-​lər How to pronounce entailer (audio) , en-​ \ noun
entailment \ in-​ˈtāl-​mənt How to pronounce entailment (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for entail

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of entail in a Sentence

Verb Pregnancy involves the bodily dependence of the unborn child on its mother; in many cases, it entails a significant physical burden. — Cathleen Kaveny, Commonweal, 4 May 2007 … it was a Master Highlighter Event, a two-day guest appearance by one of Kinkade's specially trained assistants, who would highlight any picture bought during the event for free. Highlighting a picture is not that different from highlighting your hair: it entails stippling tiny bright dots of paint on the picture to give it more texture and luminescence. — Susan Orlean, New Yorker, 15 Oct. 2001 Life is a difficult and complicated enterprise. It entails joy but also suffering, gain but also loss, hope but also despair. — Neal Gabler, Life: The Movie, 1998 Discourse is a social as well as an intellectual activity; it entails interaction between minds, and it revolves around something possessed in common. — David A. Hollinger, In the American Province, (1985) 1992 He accepted the responsibility, with all that it entails. a lavish wedding entails extensive planning and often staggering expense
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Is the effect salutary, fuelling righteous rage at the governments, movements, and random insanities that entail murder as a matter of course? Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of War in “Theater of Operations”," 25 Nov. 2019 On a summer day in 1926, indeed the day after July 4th with all the fanfare that entails, Arthur George Wider made his firecracker entrance into the world. courant.com, "Arthur Wider," 5 Nov. 2019 For Frisell, an avowed Cream fan, his time playing in Baker's jazz group was a largely pleasant experience that didn't entail any of the wild man antics that made him a rock legend for all the wrong reasons. Ron Hart, Billboard, "Bill Frisell on Working With the Late Ginger Baker: 'It Was Total Generosity'," 11 Oct. 2019 The movie's plot revolves around a royal visit to the stately country home, and all the preparation that entails. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Is the Downton Abbey Movie Getting a Sequel?," 20 Sep. 2019 Some key industry professionals stepped up to share their views on hiring for a role that entails being responsible for a tech product over its entire life-cycle, from ideation to development to launch and use. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "When Indian entrepreneurs tried to draft a hiring guide for product managers," 21 Aug. 2019 But Richards does have a new physical regimen, so to speak, albeit one that entails not engaging in certain activities — or at least cutting way back on them — that were once synonymous with his name. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rolling Stones rocking on with Mick Jagger’s new heart valve, largely sober Keith Richards," 18 Aug. 2019 But if the Libra Association does have a mechanism for forcing compliance, that inherently raises the bar for entering the market and makes the Libra network look more like conventional financial networks—with all the red tape that entails. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Facebook is backpedaling from its ambitious vision for Libra," 18 July 2019 Organizers and activists are also targeting the scourge of permalance positions that often entail near-to-full-time work without the benefits or security of a staff job. Clio Chang, The New Republic, "How to Save Journalism," 11 July 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for entail

Verb and Noun

Middle English entailen, entaillen, from en- entry 1 + taile, taille limitation — more at tail entry 4

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Time Traveler for entail

Time Traveler

The first known use of entail was in the 14th century

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Statistics for entail

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Entail.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entailed. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for entail


How to pronounce entail (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of entail

: to have (something) as a part, step, or result
en·​tail | \ in-ˈtāl How to pronounce entail (audio) \

Legal Definition of entail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make (an estate in real property) a fee tail : limit the descent of (real property) by restricting inheritance to specific descendants who cannot convey or transfer the property estates are entailed entire on the eldest male heir— Benjamin Franklin

Other Words from entail

entailment noun



Legal Definition of entail (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of entailing real property also : the practice of entailing property the repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and perpetuation of wealth in select families — Thomas Jefferson — see also De Donis Conditionalibus
2 : an entailed estate in real property if entails had not become barrable— Eileen Spring
3 : the fixed line of descent of an entailed estate

History and Etymology for entail

Transitive verb

Middle English entaillen, from en-, causative prefix + taille restriction on inheritance — see tail

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Comments on entail

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


easily led, controlled, or managed

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