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1the hindmost part of an animal, especially when prolonged beyond the rest of the body, such as the flexible extension of the backbone in a vertebrate, the feathers at the hind end of a bird, or a terminal appendage in an insect. a thing resembling an animal’s tail in its shape or position, typically something extending downward or outward at the end of something:the trailed tail of a capital Q the cars were head to tail the rear part of an airplane, with the horizontal stabilizer and rudder. the lower or hanging part of a garment, especially the back of a shirt or coat.
) informal a tailcoat; a man’s formal evening suit with such a coat:the men looked debonair in white tie and tails
the luminous trail of particles following a comet. the lower end of a pool or stream. the exposed end of a slate or tile in a roof. 2the end of a long train or line of people or vehicles:an armored truck at the tail of the convoy [in singular] the final, more distant, or weaker part of something:the forecast says we’re in for the tail of a hurricane informal a person secretly following another to observe their movements. 3 informal
, chiefly North American a person’s buttocks:fireworks followed when the coach kicked Ryan in his tail
vulgar slang a woman’s genitals. informal women collectively regarded as a means of sexual gratification:my wife thinks going out with you guys will keep me from chasing tail 4
) the reverse side of a coin (used when tossing a coin).
verb [with object]
1 informal follow and observe (someone) closely, especially in secret:a flock of paparazzi had tailed them all over Paris [no object] follow:they went to their favorite cafe—Bill and Sally tailed along 2 [no object] North American (of an object in flight) drift or curve in a particular direction:the next pitch tailed in on me at the last second 3 rare provide with a tail:her calligraphy was topped by banners of black ink and tailed like the haunches of fabulous beasts 4 archaic join (one thing) to another:each new row of houses tailed on its drains to those of its neighbors
Do not confuse tail
means 'the rear or end part of an animal or thing' (the dog wagged its tail
), whereas tale
means 'a story' (a fairy tale