Found 1 items, similar to To turn tail.
English → English
Definition: To turn 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.
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.
2. Any long, flexible terminal appendage; whatever resembles,
in shape or position, the tail of an animal, as a catkin.
Doretus writes a great praise of the distilled
waters of those tails that hang on willow trees.
3. Hence, the back, last, lower, or inferior part of
anything, -- as opposed to the head
, or the superior
The Lord will make thee the head, and not the tail.
4. A train or company of attendants; a retinue.
said he, “if you saw but the chief with his
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
6. (Anat.) The distal tendon of a muscle.
7. (Bot.) A downy or feathery appendage to certain achenes.
It is formed of the permanent elongated style.
(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.
9. (Naut.) A rope spliced to the strap of a block, by which
it may be lashed to anything.
10. (Mus.) The part of a note which runs perpendicularly
upward or downward from the head; the stem. --Moore
(Encyc. of Music).
11. pl. Same as Tailing
12. (Arch.) The bottom or lower portion of a member or part,
as a slate or tile.
13. pl. (Mining) See Tailing
, n., 5.
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.
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]
19. sexual intercourse, or a woman used for sexual
intercourse; as, to get some tail; to find a piece of
tail. See also tailing
. [slang and vulgar]
. (Arch.) Same as Tailpiece
(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
, the latter end; the termination; as, the tail end
of a contest. [Colloq.]
. (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.
, the spindle of the tailstock of a turning
lathe; -- called also dead spindle
To turn tail
, to run away; to flee.
Would she turn tail to the heron, and fly quite out
another way; but all was to return in a higher
pitch. --Sir P.
(t[^u]rn), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Turned
; p. pr. &
vb. n. Turning
.] [OE. turnen, tournen, OF. tourner, torner,
turner, F. tourner, LL. tornare, fr. L. tornare to turn in a
lathe, to rounds off, fr. tornus a lathe, Gr. ? a turner's
chisel, a carpenter's tool for drawing circles; probably akin
to E. throw. See Throw
, and cf. Attorney
1. To cause to move upon a center, or as if upon a center; to
give circular motion to; to cause to revolve; to cause to
move round, either partially, wholly, or repeatedly; to
make to change position so as to present other sides in
given directions; to make to face otherwise; as, to turn a
wheel or a spindle; to turn the body or the head.
Turn the adamantine spindle round. --Milton.
The monarch turns him to his royal guest. --Pope.
2. To cause to present a different side uppermost or outmost;
to make the upper side the lower, or the inside to be the
outside of; to reverse the position of; as, to turn a box
or a board; to turn a coat.
3. To give another direction, tendency, or inclination to; to
direct otherwise; to deflect; to incline differently; --
used both literally and figuratively; as, to turn the eyes
to the heavens; to turn a horse from the road, or a ship
from her course; to turn the attention to or from
something. “Expert when to advance, or stand, or, turn
the sway of battle.”
Thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport
Her importunity. --Milton.
My thoughts are turned on peace. --Addison.
4. To change from a given use or office; to divert, as to
another purpose or end; to transfer; to use or employ; to
apply; to devote.
Therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto
David. --1 Chron. x.
God will make these evils the occasion of a greater
good, by turning them to advantage in this world.
When the passage is open, land will be turned most
to cattle; when shut, to sheep. --Sir W.
5. To change the form, quality, aspect, or effect of; to
alter; to metamorphose; to convert; to transform; -- often
with to or into before the word denoting the effect or
product of the change; as, to turn a worm into a winged
insect; to turn green to blue; to turn prose into verse;
to turn a Whig to a Tory, or a Hindu to a Christian; to
turn good to evil, and the like.
The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have
compassion upon thee. --Deut. xxx.
And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the
counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. --2 Sam. xv.
Impatience turns an ague into a fever. --Jer.
6. To form in a lathe; to shape or fashion (anything) by
applying a cutting tool to it while revolving; as, to turn
the legs of stools or tables; to turn ivory or metal.
I had rather hear a brazen candlestick turned.
7. Hence, to give form to; to shape; to mold; to put in
proper condition; to adapt. “The poet's pen turns them to
His limbs how turned, how broad his shoulders spread
He was perfectly well turned for trade. --Addison.
(a) To translate; to construe; as, to turn the Iliad.
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown.
(b) To make acid or sour; to ferment; to curdle, etc.: as,
to turn cider or wine; electricity turns milk quickly.
(c) To sicken; to nauseate; as, an emetic turns one's
9. To make a turn about or around (something); to go or pass
around by turning; as, to turn a corner.
The ranges are not high or steep, and one can turn a
kopje instead of cutting or tunneling through it.
To be turned of
, be advanced beyond; as, to be turned of
To turn a cold shoulder to
, to treat with neglect or
To turn a corner
, to go round a corner.
To turn adrift
, to cast off, to cease to care for.
To turn a flange
(Mech.), to form a flange on, as around a
metal sheet or boiler plate, by stretching, bending, and
hammering, or rolling the metal.
To turn against
(a) To direct against; as, to turn one's arguments against
(b) To make unfavorable or hostile to; as, to turn one's
friends against him.
To turn a hostile army
, To turn the enemy's flank
, or the
like (Mil.), to pass round it, and take a position behind
it or upon its side.
To turn a penny
, or To turn an honest penny
, to make a
small profit by trade, or the like.
To turn around one's finger
, to have complete control of
the will and actions of; to be able to influence at
To turn aside
, to avert.
To turn away
(a) To dismiss from service; to discard; as, to turn away
(b) To avert; as, to turn away wrath or evil.
To turn back
(a) To give back; to return.
We turn not back the silks upon the merchants,
When we have soiled them. --Shak.
(b) To cause to return or retrace one's steps; hence, to
drive away; to repel. --Shak.
To turn down
(a) To fold or double down.
(b) To turn over so as to conceal the face of; as, to turn
(c) To lower, or reduce in size, by turning a valve,
stopcock, or the like; as, turn down the lights.
To turn in
(a) To fold or double under; as, to turn in the edge of
(b) To direct inwards; as, to turn the toes in when
(c) To contribute; to deliver up; as, he turned in a large
To turn in the mind
, to revolve, ponder, or meditate upon;
-- with about, over, etc. “ Turn these ideas about in
To turn off
(a) To dismiss contemptuously; as, to turn off a sycophant
or a parasite.
(b) To give over; to reduce.
(c) To divert; to deflect; as, to turn off the thoughts
from serious subjects; to turn off a joke.
(d) To accomplish; to perform, as work.
(e) (Mech.) To remove, as a surface, by the process of
turning; to reduce in size by turning.
(f) To shut off, as a fluid, by means of a valve,
stopcock, or other device; to stop the passage of; as,
to turn off the water or the gas.
To turn one's coat
, to change one's uniform or colors; to
go over to the opposite party.
To turn one's goods
or To turn one's money
, and the like,
to exchange in the course of trade; to keep in lively
exchange or circulation; to gain or increase in trade.
To turn one's hand to
, to adapt or apply one's self to; to
To turn out
(a) To drive out; to expel; as, to turn a family out of
doors; to turn a man out of office.
I'll turn you out of my kingdom. -- Shak.
(b) to put to pasture, as cattle or horses.
(c) To produce, as the result of labor, or any process of
manufacture; to furnish in a completed state.
(d) To reverse, as a pocket, bag, etc., so as to bring the
inside to the outside; hence, to produce.
(e) To cause to cease, or to put out, by turning a
stopcock, valve, or the like; as, to turn out the
To turn over
(a) To change or reverse the position of; to overset; to
overturn; to cause to roll over.
(b) To transfer; as, to turn over business to another
(c) To read or examine, as a book, while, turning the
leaves. “We turned o'er many books together.”
(d) To handle in business; to do business to the amount
of; as, he turns over millions a year. [Colloq.]
To turn over a new leaf
. See under Leaf
To turn tail
, to run away; to retreat ignominiously.
To turn the back
, to flee; to retreat.
To turn the back on
To turn the back upon
, to treat with contempt; to reject or
To turn the corner
, to pass the critical stage; to get by
the worst point; hence, to begin to improve, or to
To turn the die
or To turn the dice
, to change fortune.
To turn the edge of
or To turn the point of
, to bend over
the edge or point of so as to make dull; to blunt.
To turn the head of
or To turn the brain of
, to make
giddy, wild, insane, or the like; to infatuate; to
overthrow the reason or judgment of; as, a little success
turned his head.
To turn the scale
or To turn the balance
, to change the
preponderance; to decide or determine something doubtful;
to tip the balance.
To turn the stomach of
, to nauseate; to sicken.
To turn the tables
, to reverse the chances or conditions of
success or superiority; to give the advantage to the
person or side previously at a disadvantage.
To turn tippet
, to make a change. [Obs.] --B. Jonson.
To turn to profit
, To turn to advantage
, etc., to make
profitable or advantageous.
To turn turtle
, to capsize bottom upward; -- said of a
vessel. [Naut. slang]
To turn under
(Agric.), to put, as soil, manure, etc.,
underneath from the surface by plowing, digging, or the
To turn up
(a) To turn so as to bring the bottom side on top; as, to
turn up the trump.
(b) To bring from beneath to the surface, as in plowing,
(c) To give an upward curve to; to tilt; as, to turn up
To turn upon
, to retort; to throw back; as, to turn the
arguments of an opponent upon himself.
To turn upside down
, to confuse by putting things awry; to
throw into disorder.
This house is turned upside down since Robin Ostler