Tail Tail, n. [AS. t[ae]gel, t[ae]gl; akin to G. zagel, Icel. tagl, Sw. tagel, Goth. tagl hair. [root]59.] 1. (Zo["o]l.) The terminal, and usually flexible, posterior appendage of an animal. [1913 Webster]

Note: The tail of mammals and reptiles contains a series of movable vertebr[ae], and is covered with flesh and hairs or scales like those of other parts of the body. The tail of existing birds consists of several more or less consolidated vertebr[ae] which supports a fanlike group of quills to which the term tail is more particularly applied. The tail of fishes consists of the tapering hind portion of the body ending in a caudal fin. The term tail is sometimes applied to the entire abdomen of a crustacean or insect, and sometimes to the terminal piece or pygidium alone. [1913 Webster]

2. Any long, flexible terminal appendage; whatever resembles, in shape or position, the tail of an animal, as a catkin. [1913 Webster]

Doretus writes a great praise of the distilled waters of those tails that hang on willow trees. --Harvey. [1913 Webster]

3. Hence, the back, last, lower, or inferior part of anything, -- as opposed to the {head}, or the superior part. [1913 Webster]

The Lord will make thee the head, and not the tail. --Deut. xxviii. 13. [1913 Webster]

4. A train or company of attendants; a retinue. [1913 Webster]

``Ah,'' said he, ``if you saw but the chief with his tail on.'' --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster]

5. The side of a coin opposite to that which bears the head, effigy, or date; the reverse; -- rarely used except in the expression ``heads or tails,'' employed when a coin is thrown up for the purpose of deciding some point by its fall. [1913 Webster]

6. (Anat.) The distal tendon of a muscle. [1913 Webster]

7. (Bot.) A downy or feathery appendage to certain achenes. It is formed of the permanent elongated style. [1913 Webster]

8. (Surg.) (a) A portion of an incision, at its beginning or end, which does not go through the whole thickness of the skin, and is more painful than a complete incision; -- called also {tailing}. (b) One of the strips at the end of a bandage formed by splitting the bandage one or more times. [1913 Webster]

9. (Naut.) A rope spliced to the strap of a block, by which it may be lashed to anything. [1913 Webster]

10. (Mus.) The part of a note which runs perpendicularly upward or downward from the head; the stem. --Moore (Encyc. of Music). [1913 Webster]

11. pl. Same as {Tailing}, 4. [1913 Webster]

12. (Arch.) The bottom or lower portion of a member or part, as a slate or tile. [1913 Webster]

13. pl. (Mining) See {Tailing}, n., 5. [1913 Webster]

14. (Astronomy) the long visible stream of gases, ions, or dust particles extending from the head of a comet in the direction opposite to the sun. [PJC]

15. pl. (Rope Making) In some forms of rope-laying machine, pieces of rope attached to the iron bar passing through the grooven wooden top containing the strands, for wrapping around the rope to be laid. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

16. pl. A tailed coat; a tail coat. [Colloq. or Dial.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

17. (A["e]ronautics) In airplanes, an airfoil or group of airfoils used at the rear to confer stability. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

18. the buttocks. [slang or vulgar] [PJC]

19. sexual intercourse, or a woman used for sexual intercourse; as, to get some tail; to find a piece of tail. See also {tailing[3]}. [slang and vulgar] [PJC]

{Tail beam}. (Arch.) Same as {Tailpiece}.

{Tail coverts} (Zo["o]l.), the feathers which cover the bases of the tail quills. They are sometimes much longer than the quills, and form elegant plumes. Those above the quills are called the {upper tail coverts}, and those below, the {under tail coverts}.

{Tail end}, the latter end; the termination; as, the tail end of a contest. [Colloq.]

{Tail joist}. (Arch.) Same as {Tailpiece}.

{Tail of a comet} (Astron.), a luminous train extending from the nucleus or body, often to a great distance, and usually in a direction opposite to the sun.

{Tail of a gale} (Naut.), the latter part of it, when the wind has greatly abated. --Totten.

{Tail of a lock} (on a canal), the lower end, or entrance into the lower pond.

{Tail of the trenches} (Fort.), the post where the besiegers begin to break ground, and cover themselves from the fire of the place, in advancing the lines of approach.

{Tail spindle}, the spindle of the tailstock of a turning lathe; -- called also {dead spindle}.

{To turn tail}, to run away; to flee. [1913 Webster]

Would she turn tail to the heron, and fly quite out another way; but all was to return in a higher pitch. --Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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