American English

Definition of tail noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    of bird/animal/fish
  1. 1[countable] the part that sticks out and can be moved at the back of the body of a bird, an animal, or a fish The dog ran up, wagging its tail. The male has beautiful tail feathers. see also ponytail
  2. -tailed
  3. 2(in adjectives) having the type of tail mentioned a white-tailed eagle
  4. of plane/spacecraft
  5. 3[countable] the back part of a plane, spacecraft, etc. the tail wing
  6. back/end of something
  7. 4[countable] tail (of something) a part of something that sticks out at the back like a tail the tail of a kite
  8. 5[countable] tail (of something) the last part of something that is moving away from you the tail of the procession see also tail end
  9. jacket
  10. 6tails [plural] = tailcoat He was wearing a top hat and tails. see also coattails, shirttail
  11. side of coin
  12. 7tails [uncountable] the side of a coin that does not have a picture of the head of a person on it, used as one choice when a coin is tossed to decide something compare head
  13. person who follows someone
  14. 8[countable] (informal) a person who is sent to follow someone secretly and find out information about where that person goes, what they do, etc. The police have put a tail on him.
  15. NAmE//ˈteɪlləs//
    adjective Manx cats are tailless.
  16. Idioms
    on somebody's tail (informal)
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    following behind someone very closely, especially in a car That white van has been on my tail for the past ten miles.
    the tail (is) wagging the dog
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    used to describe a situation in which the most important aspect is being influenced and controlled by someone or something that is not as important
    to run away from a fight or dangerous situation When they heard the sirens, they turned tail and ran.
    with your tail between your legs (informal)
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    feeling ashamed or unhappy because you have been defeated or punished
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: tail