English

Definition of tail verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

tail

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//teɪl//
 
; NAmE NAmE//teɪl//
 
Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they tail
BrE BrE//teɪl//
 
; NAmE NAmE//teɪl//
 
he / she / it tails
BrE BrE//teɪlz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//teɪlz//
 
past simple tailed
BrE BrE//teɪld//
 
; NAmE NAmE//teɪld//
 
past participle tailed
BrE BrE//teɪld//
 
; NAmE NAmE//teɪld//
 
-ing form tailing
BrE BrE//ˈteɪlɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈteɪlɪŋ//
 
 
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  • tail somebody to follow somebody closely, especially in order to watch where they go and what they do synonym shadow A private detective had been tailing them for several weeks. She was closely tailed by a detective. They decided to let him go and then tail him.
  • Word Origin Old English tæg(e)l, from a Germanic base meaning ‘hair, hairy tail’; related to Middle Low German tagel ‘twisted whip, rope's end’. The early sense of the verb (early 16th cent.) was ‘fasten to the back of something’.Idioms (British English) to cut the top and bottom parts off fruit and vegetables to prepare them to be cooked or eaten More Like This Alliteration in idioms belt and braces, black and blue, born and bred, chalk and cheese, chop and change, done and dusted, down and dirty, in dribs and drabs, eat somebody out of house and home, facts and figures, fast and furious, first and foremost, forgive and forget, hale and hearty, hem and haw, kith and kin, mix and match, part and parcel, puff and pant, to rack and ruin, rant and rave, risk life and limb, short and sweet, signed and sealed, spic and span, through thick and thin, this and that, top and tail, tried and tested, wax and waneSee worksheet. Phrasal Verbstail backtail off
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: tail