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a horsetail (plant) (Equisetum telmateia)

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From Middle English horsetaile, horstaile, equivalent to horse +‎ tail.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɔː(ɹ)s.teɪl/


horsetail (plural horsetails)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see horse,‎ tail. The tail of a horse.
  2. Any of various simple vascular plants, of the order Equisetales, that have hollow stems and produce spores.
  3. A Turkish standard denoting rank.
    Commanders were distinguished by the number of horsetails carried before them. The sultan had seven, the grand vizier five, and the pashas three, two, or one.
  4. A mare's tail, a water plant in genus Hippuris.
  5. Any waterfall, the descending water of which maintains contact with bedrock most of the time.
  6. (anatomy) cauda equina, a bundle of nerve fibers.
  7. (rare) A ponytail hairstyle.
    • 2011, George Romero, The Rescue (page 160)
      They were psychic mediums that wore a horsetail hairstyle. They believed that their long hair acted as cosmic antennae to receive alien communication from beyond.
    • 2012, Clayton Emery, Mortal Consequences: Forgotten Realms
      The woman was tall and rail-thin, bony across the shoulders and breast, with arms and legs of wire and gristle. A fighter, she wore the traditional haircut, shaved temples, roach of hair tugged back in a horsetail.

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