tail(redirected from tail off)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms.
tail2 Property law
tailShort for comet tail.
a more or less isolated and mobile posterior section of the body in vertebrates that performs various functions.
In fishes the tail section is not sharply differentiated from the body and is usually equipped with a large fin—the main organ of locomotion. The tail of terrestrial vertebrates does not perform a locomotive function, although in many animals, for example, caudate amphibians and reptiles, it serves as an auxiliary organ of locomotion. In extant birds the caudal section proper of the spine is shortened; in Carinatae it is represented by five to seven vertebrae that are concresced into the coccyx, or pygostyle, which supports the rectrices. The tail of mammals is a slender, mobile appendage of varying length; the skeletal axis consists of three to 49 free vertebrae.
The tail may be prehensile, serving as an aid in climbing (opossums, certain anteaters and monkeys, raccoons). It may serve as an organ of support and a rudder in some jumping animals (kangaroos, jerboas, great jerboas), or it may act as a parachute (squirrels, dormouses). The short tail of whales and sirens has developed a fin and, thus, performs a locomotive function. Some animals, for example, horses and cattle, drive away flying insects with their tails. In a number of mammals the tail is reduced.
In the human embryo a tail appears at the end of the first month or the beginning of the second. With normal development it disappears during the third month. The presence of a tail in a human in the postembryonic period is an example of atavism.
What does it mean when you dream about a tail?
A tail can refer to excitement, as in a dog that wags its tale, or the opposite, as when a tail is dragged between one’s legs. There are numerous idioms involving this word, and dreams in which a tail is featured can be alluding to the meaning of any one of them: “turn tail,” “on someone else’s coattails,” a “tail wagging the dog,” or the “tail end” of something.
ii. The tail surfaces of an aircraft or rocket.