shirt·​tail | \ ˈshərt-ˌtāl How to pronounce shirttail (audio) \

Definition of shirttail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of a shirt that reaches below the waist especially in the back
2 : something small or inadequate



Definition of shirttail (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : very young : immature shirttail boys fishing in the creek
2 : distantly and indefinitely related a shirttail cousin on her father's side
3 : small, trivial, or short typically to the point of inadequacy has a gullied shirttail ranch in the hills

Examples of shirttail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cutting off a shirttail has never improved anyone’s shooting, for one. The Editors, Field & Stream, 11 Oct. 2020 Amy Poehler say stuff and nodding and kind of just hanging on to her shirttail... Sarah Rodman,, 6 Oct. 2020 This is their go-to method for not doing homework, not putting their shirttail in. Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, 8 Jan. 2020 And according to the Internet, hot girl summer is…none other than Tom Hanks wearing a cute bathing suit and a button-down with the shirttails tied at the waist. Samantha Leach, Glamour, 11 July 2019 The pro-Palestinian side rode the orchestra’s shirttails to a higher profile for its cause, drawing international headlines, especially for the Kimmel disruption and another at the orchestra’s first concert of the tour, in Brussels. Peter Dobrin,, 15 June 2018 Many of the untucked shirttails poking from under the jackets were not actually shirts at all. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2018 One customer wants a deeper pocket to hold his glasses, another orders a hidden money pocket in his shirttail or a shirt that buttons to his underwear. Scott Clark, Houston Chronicle, 20 Dec. 2017 Be content to ride the shirttails of a go-getter to bigger and better opportunities. Jeraldine Saunders, The Mercury News, 11 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Ratched is a shirttail American Horror Story spinoff that owes a clear debt to that anthology’s transcendent Asylum entry. Darren Franich,, 14 Sep. 2020

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


1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for shirttail

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The first known use of shirttail was in 1809

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Cite this Entry

“Shirttail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of shirttail

: the part of a shirt that hangs below the waist especially in the back

More from Merriam-Webster on shirttail

Nglish: Translation of shirttail for Spanish Speakers


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