Pronunciation: (tāl),[key] —n. 1. the hindmost part of an animal, esp. that forming a distinct, flexible appendage to the trunk.
2. something resembling or suggesting this in shape or position: the tail of a kite. 3. Astron.the luminous stream extending from the head of a comet.
4. the reverse of a coin (opposed to head).
5. Aeron.the after portion of an airplane or the like.
6. tails, a. See tail coat. b. the tapering skirts or ends at the back of a coat, esp. a tail coat.
c. men's full-dress attire.
d. Distilling.alcohol obtained in the final distillation. Cf. head (def. 22).
7. Slang.the buttocks or rump.
8. Informal.a person who trails or keeps a close surveillance of another, as a detective or spy: The police decided to put a tail on the suspect. 9. Informal.the trail of a fleeing person or animal: They put a detective on his tail. 10. Slang(vulgar).
b. a woman considered as a sexual object.
11. the hinder, bottom, or end part of anything; the rear.
12. a final or concluding part of a sentence, conversation, social gathering, etc.; conclusion; end: The tail of the speech was boring. Toward the tail of the concert I'd begun to get tired. 13. the inferior or unwanted part of anything.
14. a long braid or tress of hair.
15. an arrangement of objects or persons extending as or as if a tail.
16. a line of persons awaiting their turns at something; queue.
17. a retinue; train.
18. the lower part of a pool or stream.
19. the exposed portion of a piece of roofing, as a slate.
20. Print.,Bookbinding.the bottom of a page or book.
21. Print.the lower portion of a type, as of g, y, or Q. 22. turn tail, a. to turn one's back on, as in aversion or fright.
b. to run away from difficulty, opposition, etc.; flee: The sight of superior forces made the attackers turn tail. 23. with one's tail between one's legs, utterly humiliated; defeated; cowed: They were forced to retreat with their tails between their legs.
—adj. 1. coming from behind: a tail breeze. 2. being in the back or rear: the tail section of a plane.
—v.t. 1. Informal.to follow in order to hinder escape of or to observe: to tail a suspect. 2. to form or furnish with a tail.
3. to form or constitute the tail or end of (a procession, retinue, etc.).
4. to terminate; come after or behind; follow like a tail.
5. to join or attach (one thing) at the tail or end of another.
6. Building Trades.to fasten (a beam, stone, etc.) by one end (usually fol. by in or into).
7. to dock the tail of (a horse, dog, etc.).
—v.i. 1. to follow close behind: She always tails after her sister. 2. to disappear gradually or merge into: The path tails off into the woods. 3. to form, or move or pass in, a line or column suggestive of a tail: The hikers tailed up the narrow path. 4. (of a boat) to have or take a position with the stern in a particular direction.
5. Building Trades.(of a beam, stone, etc.) to be fastened by one end (usually fol. by in or into).