the tail wagging the dog

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of the tail wagging the dog

informal
used to describe a situation in which an important or powerful person, organization, etc., is being controlled by someone or something that is much less important or powerful

Word by Word Definitions

tail play
  1. : the rear end or a process or prolongation of the rear end of the body of an animal

  2. : something resembling an animal's tail in shape or position: such as

  3. : a luminous stream of particles, gases, or ions extending from a comet especially in the antisolar direction

  1. : to follow for purposes of surveillance

  2. : to connect end to end

  3. : to remove the tail of (an animal) : dock

  1. : entail

  1. : limited as to tenure : entailed

wag play wagging
  1. : to be in motion : stir

  2. : to move to and fro or up and down especially with quick jerky motions

  3. : to move in chatter or gossip

  1. : an act of wagging : shake

  1. : wit, joker

  2. : a young man : chap

dog play
  1. : canid

  2. : a male dog

  3. : a worthless or contemptible person

  1. : canine

  2. : having an inferior or inauthentic quality : spurious

  1. : to hunt, track, or follow like a hound

  2. : to worry as if by pursuit with dogs : plague

  3. : to bother or pester persistently

  1. : extremely, utterly


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