A Dictionary of the English Language
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Tail (noun)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 2014

Tail. n.s. [tæʒl, Saxon.]

  1. That which terminates the animal behind; the continuation of the vertebræ of the back hanging loose behind.

    Oft have I seen a hot o'er-weening cur,
    Run back and bite, because he was with-held,
    Who, having suffer'd with the bear's fell paw,
    Hath clapt his tail betwixt his legs and cry'd.
    Shakespeare.

    This sees the cub, and does himself oppose,
    And men and boats his active tail confounds.
    Waller.

    The lion will not kick, but will strike such a stroke with his tail, that will break the back of his encounter. More.

    Rouz'd by the lash of his own stubborn tail,
    Our lion now will foreign foes assail.
    Dryden.

    The tail fin is half a foot high, but underneath level with the tail. Grew.

  2. The lower part.

    The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail, and thou shalt be above, and not beneath. Deut. xxviii. 13.

  3. Any thing hanging long; a cat-kin.

    Duretus writes a great praise of the distilled water of those tails that hang upon willow trees. Harvey on Consumptions.

  4. The hinder part of any thing.

    With the helm they turn and steer the tail. Butler.

  5. To turn Tail. To fly; to run away.

    Would she turn tail to the heron, and fly quite out another way; but all was to return in a higher pitch. Sidney.

Sources: Butler, Samuel (98) · The Bible - Deuteronomy (21) · Dryden, John (788) · Grew, Nehemiah (36) · Harvey, Gideon (42) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (49) · More, Henry (28) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Waller, Edmund (63)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Tail (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 12, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=5846.


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