horse·tail | \ˈhȯrs-ˌtāl \

Definition of horsetail 

: any of a genus (Equisetum of the order Equisetales) of lower tracheophytes comprising perennial, spore-producing plants that spread by creeping rhizomes and have leaves reduced to nodal sheaths on the hollow jointed ribbed shoots

Illustration of horsetail

Illustration of horsetail

horsetail: 1 vegetative plant, 2 fertile plant

Examples of horsetail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Animals and plants that have been driven from much of Europe’s intensively farmed landscapes, including wolves, the Eurasian hoopoe bird and a plant called great horsetail, are reclaiming areas that were considered dead just a few years ago. Washington Post, "How Germany is turning wasteland into vast lakeside resorts," 14 June 2018 These super aggressive weeds include blackberry, Scotch broom, bindweed (also known as invasive morning glory), horsetail, English ivy, poison oak and old man’s beard (also known as traveler’s joy; an invasive species of clematis)., "How to defend lawns, gardens against invasive weeds," 27 Feb. 2018 And more than a few backstage experts and supermodels swear by Viviscal, a popular hair-growth vitamin that also contains silicon, along with amino acids and horsetail extract. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "6 Foolproof Tips for Growing Out Your Hair, According to Pro Stylists," 12 Oct. 2017 Budnick kept the mango tree and removed all else including fescue grass, horsetail plants and bamboo. Lisa Boone,, "A Venice homeowner removed the lawn and replaced it with this colorful landscape," 12 Sep. 2017 Imagine a landscape where redwood-like metasequoias towered over the hills; slim alder-like trees, ginkgos and vines dwelled at the forest margins; and lush ferns, cycads and horsetails packed the swamps. Kate Siber, Alaska Dispatch News, "When dinosaurs ruled Alaska," 19 Aug. 2017 Enclosed in glass on three sides, like some giant terrarium, but open to the sky, the inaccessible landscape will sprout with ferns, horsetail and magnolia trees. Tim Mckeough, New York Times, "A Garden Oasis in the Lobby," 26 May 2017 Sure — make that choice and all the horses in the landscape lose their tails, because horsetail hair was used for rope. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "‘Vikings,’ Here to Set the Record Straight," 4 Feb. 2016

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

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The first known use of horsetail was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for horsetail


horse·tail | \ˈhȯrs-ˌtāl \

Kids Definition of horsetail

: a plant that produces spores and has small leaves resembling scales

More from Merriam-Webster on horsetail

See words that rhyme with horsetail Encyclopedia article about horsetail

Comments on horsetail

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one that holds something together

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