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: the rear end or a process or prolongation of the rear end of the body of an animal
: something resembling an animal's tail in shape or position: such as
: a luminous stream of particles, gases, or ions extending from a comet especially in the antisolar direction
: the rear part of an airplane consisting usually of horizontal and vertical stabilizing surfaces with attached control surfaces
: the reverse of a coin —usually used in plural
tails, I win
: full evening dress for men
: a location immediately or not far behind
had a posse on his tail
: one (such as a detective) who follows or keeps watch on someone
slang, vulgar : sexual intercourse
: the back, last, lower, or inferior part of something
: the blank space at the bottom of a page
tailed; tailing; tails
: to follow for purposes of surveillance
: to connect end to end
: to remove the tail of (an animal) : dock entry 3
: to remove the stem or bottom part of
topping and tailing gooseberries
: to make or furnish with a tail
: to follow or be drawn behind like a tail
: to form or move in a straggling line
: to grow progressively smaller, fainter, or more scattered : abate —usually used with off
productivity is tailing off—Tom Nicholson
: to swing or lie with the stern in a named direction —used of a ship at anchor
Verb The police had been tailing the suspect for several miles. She is constantly tailed by the press. The pitch tailed away from the batter.
Recent Examples on the Web
VerbMany are blurry or show only an ear or tail at the edge of the frame. —Beck Andrew Salgado, Journal Sentinel, 20 Jan. 2023 Come February, the streets of Panjim, Mapusa, Margao, and Vasco will come alive with dancers, acrobats, musicians, and the escorts that tail the carnival’s King Momo. —Condé Nast Traveller, Condé Nast Traveler, 29 Nov. 2022 The aircraft chase the GI’s informal prayer as reliably as the violins tail the piano in Chanda Dancy’s treacly score. —Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2022 Villanelle will go toe to tail with a formidable adversary named Lucifer. —Dan Snierson, EW.com, 25 Feb. 2022 The result is the duckiest possible version of a duck: dark, crisp, glossy skin surrounding dark, tender meat, from tip to tail. —Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2022 The virality of the first tabloid photo encouraged the paparazzi to tail him more. —E. Alex Jung, Vulture, 12 Oct. 2021 The family’s relationship with their son Tyler’s health care provider became so antagonistic that NICA twice hired a private investigator to tail them. —Carol Marbin Miller, ProPublica, 8 Apr. 2021 The blowhole is the first body part to rise out of the water, followed by the back and tail as the whale dives below the surface in one graceful motion. —Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, 2 Jan. 2021
NounAnd the striking setting — under the giant tail of Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose airliner folly — suits the strangeness of the material. —Brett Campbell | , oregonlive, 22 Mar. 2023 The long tail of those decisions can be seen in the Iraqi parliament’s constant struggles for legitimacy and the rise of the extremist Islamic State, which emerged with the organizational know-how of some former members of the Baath Party. —Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2023 This happened when a volcano named Dabbahu erupted at the tail of the east African Rift Valley. —Faustine Ngila, Quartz, 13 Mar. 2023 But perhaps the franchise would be eating its own tail at that point. —Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Mar. 2023 This pair of tweezers is ideal for the section between your brows and on the end above the tail of your brow where the skin is less sensitive. —Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 3 Mar. 2023 Share [Findings] The tail of an unidentified herbivorous dinosaur in Alberta was found to contain a type of histiocytic tumor that primarily affects young children. —Christian Lorentzen, Harpers Magazine, 1 Mar. 2023 One example is the skipper caterpillar, which can shoot solid pellets of its waste, known as frass, over a distance up to 38 times its body length to keep predators off its tail. —Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 28 Feb. 2023 One of the employees picked it up by its tail as Dave got a couple of close-up shots with his camera. —Oliver Whang, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2023 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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