Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


He sat still, just lifting the root of his tail as you stroked him.

He carried his head loftily, and there was a lordly flaunt to his tail.

The little squirrel had squeaked his gladness, and, tail erect, had darted into the grass.

Out of the tail of his eye he could see that the rest of the Council were startled.

Her tail bristled a little as it curled at the tip like a snake.

For the rest, my brothers used to say that I was the tail and Ongyatasse wagged me.

Bamboo is used in the construction of the body frame, and also for the frame of the tail.

The machine from elevator to tail plane bristles in original points.

His tail was up, he was snorting loudly, and he headed straight for the hammock.

I looked and saw a huge gray squirrel with a tail like a rabbit.


"hindmost part of an animal," Old English tægl, tægel, from Proto-Germanic *tagla- (cf. Old High German zagal, German Zagel "tail," dialectal German Zagel "penis," Old Norse tagl "horse's tail"), from PIE *doklos, from root *dek- "something long and thin" (referring to such things as fringe, lock of hair, horsetail; cf. Old Irish dual "lock of hair," Sanskrit dasah "fringe, wick"). The primary sense, at least in Germanic, seems to have been "hairy tail," or just "tuft of hair," but already in Old English the word was applied to the hairless "tails" of worms, bees, etc. Another Old English word for "tail" was steort (see stark).

Meaning "reverse side of a coin" is from 1680s; that of "backside of a person, buttocks" is recorded from c.1300; slang sense of "pudenda" is from mid-14c.; that of "woman as sex object" is from 1933, earlier "prostitute" (1846). The tail-race (1776) is the part of a mill race below the wheel. To turn tail "take flight" (1580s) originally was a term in falconry. The image of the tail wagging the dog is attested from 1907.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.