coattail

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

coat +‎ tail

Noun[edit]

coattail (plural coattails)

  1. The flap at the back of a coat that hangs down, sometimes below the waist.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, OCLC 16832619:
      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 [].

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