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English → English (gcide) Definition: upper tail coverts Tail \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. [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster] 2. Any long, flexible terminal appendage; whatever resembles, in shape or position, the tail of an animal, as a catkin. [1913 Webster] Doretus writes a great praise of the distilled waters of those tails that hang on willow trees. --Harvey. [1913 Webster] 3. Hence, the back, last, lower, or inferior part of anything, -- as opposed to the head, or the superior part. [1913 Webster] The Lord will make thee the head, and not the tail. --Deut. xxviii. 13. [1913 Webster] 4. A train or company of attendants; a retinue. [1913 Webster] “Ah,” said he, “if you saw but the chief with his tail on.” --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] 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 fall. [1913 Webster] 6. (Anat.) The distal tendon of a muscle. [1913 Webster] 7. (Bot.) A downy or feathery appendage to certain achenes. It is formed of the permanent elongated style. [1913 Webster] 8. (Surg.) (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. [1913 Webster] 9. (Naut.) A rope spliced to the strap of a block, by which it may be lashed to anything. [1913 Webster] 10. (Mus.) The part of a note which runs perpendicularly upward or downward from the head; the stem. --Moore (Encyc. of Music). [1913 Webster] 11. pl. Same as Tailing, 4. [1913 Webster] 12. (Arch.) The bottom or lower portion of a member or part, as a slate or tile. [1913 Webster] 13. pl. (Mining) See Tailing, n., 5. [1913 Webster] 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. [PJC] 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] [PJC] 19. sexual intercourse, or a woman used for sexual intercourse; as, to get some tail; to find a piece of tail. See also tailing[3]. [slang and vulgar] [PJC] Tail beam. (Arch.) Same as Tailpiece. Tail coverts (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. Tail end, the latter end; the termination; as, the tail end of a contest. [Colloq.] Tail joist. (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. Tail spindle, the spindle of the tailstock of a turning lathe; -- called also dead spindle. To turn tail, to run away; to flee. [1913 Webster] Would she turn tail to the heron, and fly quite out another way; but all was to return in a higher pitch. --Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster]


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