The DICT Development Group
1 definition found
for Tail of a comet
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Tail \Tail\, n. [AS. taegel, taegl; akin to G. zagel, Icel.
tagl, Sw. tagel, Goth. tagl hair. [root]59.]
1. (Zool.) The terminal, and usually flexible, posterior
appendage of an animal.
Note: The tail of mammals and reptiles contains a series of
movable vertebrae, 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 vertebrae 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.
"Ah," said he, "if you saw but the chief with his
tail on." --Sir W.
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, 4.
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. (Aeronautics) 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]
Tail beam. (Arch.) Same as Tailpiece.
Tail coverts (Zool.), 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.
Would she turn tail to the heron, and fly quite out
another way; but all was to return in a higher
pitch. --Sir P.
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