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A dovetail joint.


dove +‎ tail


  • IPA(key): /ˈdʌvteɪl/
    • (file)


dovetail (plural dovetails)

  1. (woodworking) a type of joint where adjoining boards are fastened by interlocking fan-shaped cutouts
    Synonym: culvertail
    • 1944, Popular Science, Vol. 144, Nº 4, page 151
      DOVETAIL joints, well known for their strength, have long been used in fine cabinet work. Nowadays they are frequently displaced by other types of joints that are easier to make with power tools, but where a self-locking joint is needed for use []



dovetail (third-person singular simple present dovetails, present participle dovetailing, simple past and past participle dovetailed)

  1. (woodworking, transitive) to unite with a dovetail joint
  2. (by extension) to fit together well
    1. (ditransitive) [+object]
      • 1988, Frank S. Kessel, The Development of Language and Language Researchers: Essays in Honor of Roger Brown, Psychology Press →ISBN, page 299
        I felt that through the combined study of psychology and linguistics I would find out how children learned language, and that I would be able to dovetail this knowledge into my business career in Japan. The first course I took in the area of []
      • 2019 October, Philip Sherratt, “Midland Main Line upgrade presses on”, in Modern Railways, page 60:
        The task now facing Mr Crook and his team in the multi-disciplinary programme is sequencing the works going forward, to ensure track, signalling, station works and overhead line installations dovetail together.
    2. (transitive, intransitive) [+ with (object)]
      The parts of your essay should dovetail so that it is cohesive and coherent.
      The decision of the executive board dovetails neatly with the prior projects the company has taken up.
  3. (computing, transitive) to interweave a number of subprograms or algorithms so that they can be run more or less simultaneously

Coordinate terms[edit]