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coat +‎ tail


coattail ‎(plural coattails)

  1. The flap at the back of a coat that hangs down, sometimes below the waist.
    • 1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, chapter II:
      At twilight in the summer [] the mice come out. They [] eat the luncheon crumbs. Mr. Checkly, for instance, always brought his dinner in a paper parcel in his coat-tail pocket, and ate it when so disposed, sprinkling crumbs lavishly [] on the floor.
  2. (usually in the plural, figuratively) Success of a figure, organization or movement that transfers to those who associate with it.
    • 2012, The Economist, Oct 6th 2012; The Senate: Not so flippable:
      Mr Obama’s coat-tails may help lift Wall-Street-basher Elizabeth Warren past pickup-driving Everyman and one-time nude pin-up Scott Brown in Massachusetts [].

Derived terms[edit]


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