Basic+ Word of the Day: tail

tail (noun, verb) past tense: tailed LISTEN

A tail is the back part of an animal.

  • Dogs wag their tails when they are happy or excited.
  • When the whale dove into the water, all you could see was its tail.

A tail is also the side of a coin that does not have a face.

  • When the referee flipped a coin to see who would go first, our team chose tails.

Tail also means ‘to follow in order to observe or prevent escape.’

  • The detective tailed the suspect to his victim's home.

Common uses

with his tail between his legs: completely humiliated. Example: “After losing the race to his younger brother, Tom went home with his tail between his legs.”

Did you know?

“Pin the Tail on the Donkey” is a game that little children play at birthday parties. Watch this little girl play. Do you think she is cheating?

Related words

tail coat: a formal man’s jacket with two long pieces in the back, resembling a tail. Example: “It was a formal wedding, The groom wore a tail coat.”

In pop culture

Watch (and dance to, if you like) this scene from The Blues Brothers where Ray Charles sings “Shake Your Tail Feather.”

There are other meanings of tail.
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