Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tail n.

[SE tail, of an animal; also the train of a woman’s dress or the tail of a man’s coat]

1. the posterior, the buttocks; thus fig. use, synon. with arse/ass, as oneself.

[UK]R. Brunne Handl. Synne 5416: Þarfor shul þey [...] Go to helle, both top and tayle [OED].
[UK]The Frere and Boy (1836) lviii: When sche loked on her son Jake Weyteley her tayle spake And the weynd began to crake. [Ibid.] lxx: Than her tayle be weythe Lowd began to blow [...] The weyfe was fferd of a crake Nat on worde more sche spake.
[UK]Chaucer Reeve’s Tale line 4161: Ne of his tayl bihinde he took no keep. His wyf bar him a burdon, a ful strong .
[UK]Skelton Agenst Garnesche v line 44: Yower lothesum lypps love well to kyse, Slaveryng lyke a slymy snayle I wolde ye had kyst hyr on the tayle!
[UK]J. Heywood Play of Weather in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 129: And if this tale be not likely / You shall lick my tail in the nock.
[UK]Udall (trans.) Erasmus’ Apophthegms (1564) Bk I 117: He shoulde after comming from the iakes, put his servaunt to the office of wyping his taile.
[UK]J. Heywood Fifth Hundred of Epigrams (1867) 183: Why wype you your tayles?
[UK]‘Mr S’ Gammer Gurton’s Needle in Whitworth (1997) III iii: Thou wert as good kiss my tail!
[UK]Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona II iii: pant.: Why doest thou stop me mouth? launce.: For fear thou shouldst lose thy tongue. pant.: Where should I lose my tongue? launce: In thy tale. pant.: In thy tail!
[UK] ‘The Sea Crab’ in Henke Gutter Life and Lang. (1988) 76: ‘Alas!’ quoth the good man, ‘that ever I came hither, / he has joyned my wiffes tayle & my nose together!’.
[UK]Dekker Gul’s Horne-booke in Old Bk Collector’s Misc. 48: You shall [...] do them great pleasure to ask what pamphlets and poems a man might think fittest to wipe his tail with.
[UK]J. Taylor ‘A Kicksey Winsey’ Works (1869) II 39: And which of them sayes that I raue or raile, / Let him but pay, and bid me kisse his T.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Beggar’s Bush III i: Then, if she mumble, / Or if her tail tumble, / Kiss her amain, boy, amain!
[UK]J. Shirley School of Complement II i: Come sit down, saving your tail sir, a Cushion.
[UK]A. Armstrong Banquet of Jests 6: Dead is Dicke Dum below. / Would you the reason know: / Could his taile have but spoken, / His stout-heart had not broken.
[UK]R. Herrick ‘Up tailes all’ Hesperides 291: Begin with a kisse, / Go on too with this [...] This play, be assur’d / Long enough has endur’d [...] For love he doth call For his Uptailes all; / And that’s the part to be acted.
[UK]Urquhart (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) I Bk I 50: Then I wiped my tail in the sheets, in the coverlet, in the curtains, with a cushion.
[UK]C. Cotton Virgil Travestie (1765) Bk I 9: He was, in fine, the loud’st of Farters, / Yet could [...] Correct his Tail, and only blow / If there Occasion were, or so.
[UK]Wycherley Love in a Wood III i: How can dey chuse but stink, since dey are so furieusmentè close to your Spanish Tail, da.
[UK]J. Phillips Maronides (1678) VI 55: To tell you truth, I know not which / Was heaviest, my head or breech: / For either head my tayl out-weigh’d, / Or else my tayl o’re-poiz’d my head.
[UK]Whipping Tom – Brought to Light 2: He meeting with a demure Crack or Miss of the Town [...] so swinged her Tail, that ’tis thought, she will not be capable of her Trade for some considerable time.
[UK]A great & famous scoldling-match 4: You may wriggle your Tail among the Grandees [...] and so undermine their Fundamentals.
[UK]N. Ward Compleat and Humorous Account of Remarkable Clubs (1756) 241: My Tail prophetick Poems should excrete; / I’d rise Arse upwards, ev’ry Day by times.
[UK]J. Dunton ‘The He-Strumpets’ Athenianism – Project IV 93: The Cracks will rave and think it much, If the new Sodomitish Crew Han’t a brisk Frisking Bout or two. Such Men, such Brutes, I should them call, Whose Tails are Sodomitical.
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 11: Ay, do Child, says he, and I’ll fling TWO at your Tail.
[UK]Vanbrugh & Cibber Provoked Husband IV i: The Count tells me that there Lads and Lasses may jig their Tails, and eat, and drink, without grudging, all Night long.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 178: Tuck’d her coats up, and bestrode / Her broomstick [...] And gallop’d bare-tail’d up to heaven.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘The Lousiad’ Works (1794) I 209: Sooner shall fashion order frogs and snails, And dishclouts stick eternal to our tails!
[UK]New London City Jester 36: As fine as it is, it hath kiss’s my tail for this once.
[UK] ‘Jenny’s Bawbee’ Jovial Songster 106: She pinn’d the dish-clout to his tail, / And cool’d him wi’ a water-pail.
[US]W.A. Caruthers Kentuckian in N.Y. I 67: I raised my tail like a blue-lick buck.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 8 Apr. 3/1: The new-married Mrs W—r says she cannot make head or tail of her husband. A Ropemaker with a ‘head’ would be a surprising animal indeed, but that he should lack a ‘tail’ would be more Ass-tounding still!
[UK]Sam Sly 24 Mar. 2/1: Miss A. W—n, of Green-bank, Wapping, not to shake her tail so much, or she may some day lose her bustle.
[UK]Paul Pry (London) 15 Aug. n.p.: To be seen alive [...] a rare specimen of English beauty, not to be equalled in all Europe. [...] This overgrown peacock answers to the name of Lizzy. Persons visiting are requested not to step on her tail, or else she may bite.
[UK] ‘Sub-Umbra, or Sport among the She-Noodles’ Pearl 3 Sept. 3: We must whip such indecent ideas out of their tails!
[UK] ‘Discovery of the Longitude’ Pearl 10 Apr. 16: What a length of tail, though the seas you roam, / Your spouses never fail, to bear you babes at home!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Sept. 14/3: It was stated by a witness [...] that the defendant ‘said he had got a young woman with £2000 at her tail.’ ‘Bustles’ of this kind will not easily go out of fashion.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 7 Jan. 4/7: The performers ‘sprang off their tails’ and cavorted round the blaze.
[UK]Sporting Times 3 June 1/4: Cabby’s final shot as the conductor goes towards Fleet Street [...]. ‘Well, thank the Lord, I don’t have to go through life tail foremost.’ Only he did not say tail.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 301: Then see him of a Sunday with his little concubine of a wife, and she wagging her tail up the aisle of the chapel.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 83: He’d certainly boot her tail around the block until she couldn’t walk.
[US]C. McCullers Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1986) 132: They also got these strutting, bad blood, tail-shaking nigger gals.
[US]J.L. Herlihy ‘Sleep of Baby Filbertson’ in Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories (1964) 10: She could give up nursing and sit on her fat tail for life.
[WI]V.S. Naipaul A House For Mr Biswas 112: Why you don’t wrap your little tail up and go to sleep?
[US]Fantastic Four Annual 8: It’s no fun, when I can’t watch Bashful Benjy get knocked on his tail.
[US](con. 1964–73) W. Terry Bloods (1985) 41: We was jumping out, and Davis got shot in the tail. He never paid it any mind.
[US]R.O. Scott Gay Sl. Dict. [Internet].
[US]UGK ‘Something Good’ [lyrics] See bluffin might save ya tail one day.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 213: She departed along the [...] corridor, twitching her tail behind her.

2. (also tale, tail-gap, -gate, -hole) the vagina; similarly used in homosexual contexts for the anus; cit. 1719 is double entendre.

[UK]Langland Piers Plowman (B) III line 131: For she is tikel of hire tail, talewis of tongie, As commune as the cartwey to knaves and to alle.
[UK]Chaucer Wife of Bath’s Prologue line 464: After wyn, pon Venus moste I thinke: For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl, A likerous mouth mose han a likerous tayl.
[UK] ‘Trial of Joseph and Mary’ Coventry Mysteries (1841) 134: Suche a yonge damesel of bewte bryght, And of schap so comely also, Of hire tayle oftetyme be lyght.
[UK]Skelton Bowge of Courte line 369: ‘What, reuell route!’ quod he, and gan to rayle How ofte he hadde hit Ienet on the tayle. Of Felyce fetewse and liytell prety Cate, How ofte he knocked at her klycked [sic] gate.
[UK]Cocke Lorelles Bote Ciii: Many whyte nonnes with whyte vayles, That was full wanton of theyr tayles.
[UK]J. Heywood Play of Weather in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 110: The wind is so weak it stirreth not our stones, / Nor scantly can shatter the shitten sail / That hangeth shattering at a woman’s tail.
[UK] ‘Dialogue Btwn the Common Secretary & Jealousy’ in C. Hindley Old Bk Collector’s Misc. I 15: She that is fair, lusty and young, / And can commune in terms with defiled tongue, / And will abide whispering in the ear, / Think ye her tail is not light of the sear.
[UK]Whythorne Autobiog. 26: A Mans honesty and Kredit doth depend and ly in hiz wyvs tayll.
[UK]Gesta Grayorum in J. Nichols Progresses and Processions of Queen Elizabeth (1823) III 335: If lusty Doll, mayde of the dary / Chance to be blew-nipte by the Fayry, / For making butter with her tayle; / I’le give her that did never fayle.
[UK]Rowlands Letting of Humours Blood 21: This Angell [a prostitute] is not noted by her winges, But by her tayle, all full of prickes and stinges.
[UK]Jonson Devil is an Ass II i: Commend my service to my lady Tailbush.
[UK] ballad in Wardroper (1969) 136: Foulgam will appeal / From Cupid, as men gather, / For in her wandering tail / Hath been her holy father.
[UK]J. Taylor ‘Sculler’ in Works (1869) III 30: Hold Sir (quoth she) my word I will not faile, / For you shall feele my hand, and kisse my T.
[UK]H. Mill Nights Search I 87: Now if her taile were seene, she’d paint that too.
[UK]E. Gayton Pleasant Notes III ii 76: Stirr’d up by the Marshall sounds and loud claps of her taile, passive and active.
[UK]Wandring Whore I 7: One of the maddest tricks, that I ever saw acted, was [...] upon a handsom neat Clean skin’d Girl that was terribly pepper’d with herds of Crabblice (as visible in her tayl as Cloves in a gammon of Bacon).
[UK]Head Nugae Venales 303: Q. Who is a fearful Woman? A. She who claps her Tail between her Legs.
[UK] ‘The Maiden’s Answer’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) II 536: When wantons play not with their tails, / And Pocky whores shall all be sound.
[UK]N. Ward ‘The Poet’s Ramble after Riches’ Writings (1704) 2: Where dames, whose pretty Eyes would pierce ye, / Will turn up tails, for God have Mercy; / And think no greater Obligation, / Than the sweet tie of Copulation.
[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 101: Here sits a holy sister, full of spiritual pride in her face, the word of God in her hands, the parson in her eye, and the devil in her tail.
A. Ramsay Lucky Spence’s Last Advice [ballad] Ye’r face will not be worth a Feg, nor yet ye’r Tail.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy III 125: O’er your Wives, and your Daughters, / He often prevails; / By sticking a Cog, of a Foot, / In their Tails.
[UK] Bog-house Misc. 22: Jenny [...] Turns up her Eyes, and rails at naughty Folks; / But in a private Room, turns up her lech’rous Tail.
[UK]Delightful Adventures of Honest John Cole 22: Let her brisk up her Tail / When he handles his Flail.
[UK]Robertson of Struan ‘To One [...] Turned Prostitute’ Poems (1752) 109: Porters and Carmen shall invade, / Henceforth, thy stinking Tail.
[UK]H. Howard Choice Spirits Museum 45: There Susan and Kitty shall cease to bewail, The woful Effects of Diseases intail.
[UK]G. Stevens ‘The End’ Songs Comic and Satyrical 55: The end of conjunction ’twixt mistress and male, / Tho’ the Head may design, has its end in the Tail.
[UK]Burns ‘Come Rede Me, Dame’ in Works (1842) 352: Her wanton tail sae ready – / I learned a sang in Annandale / Nine inch will please a lady.
[UK] ‘Will Ye Na, Can Ye Na, Let Me Be’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) I 260: I wad sell the hair frae off my tail.
[UK] ‘Tale Of A Shift’ Cuckold’s Nest 34: He got my mistress in the barn, / And pitched her such a decent yarn, / That he soon got into the tail of marm.
[UK] ‘She Sleeps With A Tall Grenadier’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 24: For no grenadier I will swear, / Ever came near to my tail.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) I 145: I got bolder [...] and must have had a dozen girls at a shilling a tail.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VII 58/1: the female pudendum [...] tail-gap, tail-gate, tail-hole .
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 86: Cul, m. [...] 2. The female pudendum; ‘the tail.’.
[UK]Lustful Memoirs of a Young and Passionated Girl 33: Who’s wife as been playing with her tail?
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 280: He spent his vacation / In self-masturbation / Because of the high price of tail.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 119: I met old Moll Roe in the mornin’, / Her tail was all drabbled in dew, / I throwed my prick over my shoulder / An’ my ballyx says how-do-ye-do?
[US]H. Miller Roofs of Paris (1983) 66: She’s just the kind of cunt I would go looking for if I had an itch for some Latin tail.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 56: Put on your old red bustle / Get your tail out and hustle.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 78: That crazy rat’ll go after the tail before he eats!
[US]J. Conaway Big Easy 159: We don’t care if yew want to knock off a little black tail, Dude – git yew a little poontang.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 150: Many of the same expressions are used for females [...] and for the female genitalia (pussy, cock, tail), and for the act of sexual intercourse (to get some pussy/cock/tail).
[US]J. Lansdale Rumble Tumble 24: The two of us merchandised more tail than Maude had sold in her lifetime.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 166: I’d [...] bang the tail off every dirty girl I could get my hands on.
[US]Rolling Stone 14 Oct. [Internet] A tail-chasing, sewer-mouthed septuagenarian New Yorker was accepting the nomination of the Family Values Party.

3. (also tail-pike, -pin, -tackle, -trimmer) the penis.

[UK]J. Heywood Play of Weather in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 103: My new head shall give my old tail a glister.
[UK]J. Heywood Four P.P. in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 37: The trimming and pinning up their gear; Specially their fiddling with the tail-pin.
[UK]J. Hall Virgidemiarum (1599) Bk IV 68: The maydens mocke, and call him withered leeke, That with a greene tayle hath an hoary head, And now he would, and now he cannot wed.
[UK]Shakespeare Othello III i: clo.: Are these [...] wind-instruments? 1st muse.: Ay, marry, are they, sir. clo.: O! thereby hangs a tail. 1st muse.: Whereby hangs a tale, sir? clo.: Marry, sir, by many a wind-instrument that I know.
[UK]Jonson Alchemist II vi: We’ll e’en draw lots, and he, that fails, shall have / The more in goods, the other has in tail.
[UK]T. Killigrew Parson’s Wedding (1664) V iv: Who would choose such weazels as we see daily marry’d? that are all head and Tail, crooked, dirty, Sold Vermin, predestin’d for Cuckolds, painted Snails, with houses on their backs, and horns as big as Dutch cows; would any woman marry such?
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 25 15–22 Nov. 215: So made them wait upon Proud Venus Tayle / Till Smugg was ready for to put in Bayle.
[UK] ‘The Rump serv’d in with a Grand Sallet’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 120: A Tail which was eaten up almost of the Pox.
[UK]Rochester (1680) ‘Lampoone’ in Works (1999) 42: Is it just? that with death cruell Love should conspire, / And our Tayles be burnt by our hearts taking fire?
[UK] ‘Satire on Whigs & Tories’ in Wilson Court Satires of the Restoration (1976) 123: In reverend pulpit laid their nasty tails, / Profaned the altar, in the font did spew.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy X 236: I fear his Tails so much his master, / ’T has brought him under some Disaster.
[UK]Humours of a Coffee-House 10 Sept. 23: How like a Jack a napes a Man must look that has lost his Tail?
[UK]Pope & Gay ‘Prophecy of the Mohocks’ Misc. III (1751) 231: It is not a sporting Tail, but a fiery Tail, even as the Tail of an Harlot.
[UK] ‘The Turnep Ground’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) I 224: I Satisfied in the hole, / And Just by Tayl She found it.
[UK] ‘The Martin and the Oyster’ in 18C Collections Online n.p.: [He] flung the Oyster on its Back, / And using both his Tail and Tongue, / He almost made it crack. / But the Oyster clos’d so fast, / He could not pass the Fort.
[UK]Teague-Root Display’d cover: Paddy Strong-Cock, Fellow of Drury-lane [...] He moveth his Tail like a Cedar, and his Strength lyeth in the Navel of his Belly.
[UK]Nancy Dawson’s Jests 3: His head and tail are good for nothing.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 103: We are all mortal men and frail, / And oft are guided by the tail.
[UK]Nancy Dawson’s Jests 3: Why is lord A—n like a Shrimp? [...] because, madam his head and tail are good for nothing.
[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 29: Hardy: They are very pretty creatures — they have such neat little short tails! Letitia: Short tails! — I don’t at all admire short tails!. Flutter: My dear Letty, short tails are quite the ton amongst the men of fashion! [...] Letitia: But, My Lord, do any one of the Ladies of Fashion admire them?
[UK] ‘The Priest Of The Parish’ Regular Thing, and No Mistake 73: And then what a laugh will be ’mong the parishioners, / Father Mac Shee has no tail to his a--se.
[UK] ‘The Maid & The Fishmonger’ Cuckold’s Nest 2: I’ve a comical tale for a comical song. / To the ladies I give it, I’ll tell you for why, / I know they’re all fond of a tail on the sly.
[UK] ‘Toasts & Sentiments’ Nobby Songster 48: The maid who love a good stiff tail.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) VII 1455: Every woman is immodest enough to show her own tail, and feel a man’s tail at times.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VII 58/1: penis [...] tail-pike, tail-pin, tail-pipe, tail-trimmer, tail-tree or tail-tackle.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 228: Queue, f. 1. The penis; ‘the tail.’.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 235: May the lightening twist your balls off ... may you swallow your own crooked tail and strangle yourself.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 125: There was a young man with the itch / Who, because he was not at all rich, / Had to harbor his tail / In any female — / A duck or a sow or a bitch.
[US]G. Legman Rationale of the Dirty Joke (1972) I 134: The identification of the penis as a tail is common in most Romance languages (Latin cauda, French queue).
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 380: tail. [...] the human anterior, i.e., the pudendum, whether female or male.

4. (UK Und., also tale) a sword; thus tail-drawer [the way it projects beyond the wearer’s body].

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Tayle c. a Sword [...] He drew the Cull’s Tayle rumly, c. he whipt away the Gentleman’s Sword cleverly.
[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 20: A Tale, alias Sword.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account of the Malefactors executed at Tyburn 18th March 1740 part II 7: These, with the Money they had got, and 2 Tales (or Swords) amounted to 30 Ridges a Piece.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 43: A Tail and Bleedar; a Sword and Hanger.
[UK]Bloody Register III 171: [as cit. 1741].
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxix: A Tail A Sword.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: tail a sword.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.

5. a prostitute.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US] list of US Army Sl. 1870s–1880s [compiled by R. Bunting, San Diego CA, 2001] Tail A prostitute.
[UK]W. Newton Secrets of Tramp Life Revealed 8: Tail ... A Prostitute.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 154: We have the privilege of associating with the whores and pimps [...] This arrangement suits the guys upstairs to a T, because they’re always on the lookout for tail.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 323: tail peddler A prostitute.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 217/1: Tail, n. [...] 2. (Collectively) Loose women.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

6. a bustle.

[NZ]N.Z. Observer and Free Lance (Auckland) 20 Mar. 23/2: She mustn’t bang her hair in front . / And she mustn’t wear a tail / [...] / She mustn’t think of bonnets, / Nor shawls, nor such like trash.

7. women viewed collectively and as sex objects; thus piece of tail under piece n.

[US](con. 1917–19) Dos Passos Nineteen Nineteen in USA (1966) 633: You’re a young fellow, do you ever have plenty of tail?
[UK]R. Mais Brother Man (1966) 79: Weren’t men always like that [...] ‘chasin’ new tail all de time.’.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 85: ‘Yeah, whereza tail? Alla pussy?’ says his friend.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 64: She [...] [l]ets me know if there’s any new tail in the area.

8. sexual intercourse.

[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 52: Oh, the women get no tail / For their husbands are in jail.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 643: It was only natural for a guy to want some tail when he didn’t have anything to do, and he was natural.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 188: I asked for tail and I gave her a quarter, / And she says, ‘Young man, I’m a minister’s daughter.’.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 138: I’ve had more tail than all of them put together.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 204: Tail Sexual intercourse in a general sense.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] tail, tail (get some... ) [...] to have sexual relations.
[US]J. Franco Palo Alto (2011) 11: ‘[He’s] out with the guys, I guess.’ ‘Chasing tail, no doubt’.

9. young boys suitable for homosexual relationships.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.

10. (gay) as camp play on sense 2, the anus.

[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana II 97: A stands for Anus / The invert’s delight; / [...] / All joys, say the homos / Seem flaccid and stale / Compared to the thrill of / Their own brand of ‘tail.’.

11. in senses of surveillance.

(a) (orig. US) an act of surveillance, esp. when following the target in the street; thus the individual(s) who carry out such surveillance.

[US]N.Y. Times 31 Jan. 27/6–7: If a ‘tail’ should be put on John Smith, that term would convey to a detective the idea that a string of detectives, as many as a half dozen perhaps, have been put on his tracks.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 83: tail [...] To trail; to follow. Used as a noun in the same sense.
[US]J. O’Connor Broadway Racketeers 182: Every harness dick in the precinct was next to the racket and every time the fence hauled away a load he imagined he was getting a tail from the Burns men, the ‘Eyes’ and a half dozen headquarters dicks.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 106: Why the hell didn’t you keep the tail on me? [...] I had that sucker in many a good spot but I couldn’t handle him by myself (throw a sleeve on him).
[US]J.K. Butler ‘Saint in Silver’ in Goulart (1967) 98: They had a tail on her.
[US]H. McCoy Corruption City 64: I want a tail on him twenty-four hours a day.
[US]L. Lariar Day I Died 182: ‘You’re an expert leech.’ ‘A what?’ ‘A tail.’.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 161: That guy hasn’t been without a tail, I mean a narco tail, in [...] nine months.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 11: There were three honeycomb buildings [...] that he could get in and out of fast, ducking a tail.
[US](con. WWII) T. Sanchez Hollywoodland (1981) 147: FBI guys got such a tight tail on him they can tell you how many times a day he goes to the bathroom.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 186: Effortlessly slipping their tails whenever they wished by making unexpected U-turns on busy streets.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 66: He was thought to be as good at stakeout and running a tail as anyone in the business.
[UK]I. Welsh Trainspotting 340: It was more than possible that the D.S. had stuck a tail on them.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 145: All kinds of glare on YT, no end of Q&A and that — and they would have deffo had a tail on us.
[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 17: The day I lose a tail, Derek, because I been drinkin’ an Americano —.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 158: Billy had spotted Bartosz’s tail to the house in Queens and was sure the big man was there to do some damage.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 71: He had to lose a tail every morning before he could go to work.

(b) (US prison) an infomer.

[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 216: tail, n. – an informer.

12. (drugs) the long-term effect of a drug, as opposed to the initial rush n. (4a)

[Aus]L. Davies Candy 79: It was a good rush [...] But that’s all it was, all rush and no tail, and you wanted it all the time (I mean all the time, every two minutes).

13. (US prison) parole.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 101: Tail A term meaning parole. [...] A tail may be referred to as strict, supervised, unsupervised or obligatory.

In compounds

tailbone (n.)

(US) the buttocks.

[US](con. 1908) J. Monaghan Schoolboy, Cowboy, Mexican Spy 9: I’ll peel your hide off your tailbone both ways.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 149: Oh, dear, my tailbone does hurt from so much sittin’.
[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 207: Found yourself someplace where you don’t know your head from your tailbone, huh?
[US]J. Ridley What Fire Cannot Burn 208: She was still emotionally myopic, was still putting her foot to tailbones.
tail-buzzer (n.) (also tail-dip, tail-diver) [buzzer n.1 /dip n.1 (3)/dive v.]

(UK Und.) a thief who specializes in the picking of coat pockets.

[UK]Bell’s New Wkly Messenger 9 Mar. 6/2: The buzzer, or gentleman’s pickpocket, is either the stook buzzer [...] purloiner of pocket handkerchieves, or the tail-buzzer, seeking [...] sneezers (snuff boxes, or skins and dummies (purses and pocket books).
[US]N.Y. Morning Express 4/2: James Anderson, a ‘tail diver,’ [...] was caught in the act of stealing the gold watch and chain from a gentleman’s pocket.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 89: tail-diver A thief who steals pocket-handkerchiefs from coat-tail pockets.
[UK]H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 25: those who plunder by manual dexterity, by stealth, or by breach of trust [...] ‘Tail-Buzzers,’ those who dive into coat-pockets for sneezers (snuff-boxes,) skins and dummies (purses and pocket-books).
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 55/2: Soon he and the eldest of the two commenced partnership in the ‘stook-buzzing’ line, and from that to ‘tail-dipping’ for a ‘skin or dummy’ until eventually Tommy Ginivan became [...] the cleverest ‘tail-dip’ in the West-end.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
tail-chaser (n.)

(US) a womanizer.

[UK]I, Mobster 58: Not calling then a bunch of goddamned tail chasers, the way I felt like doing.
[UK]K. Amis letter 21 Apr. in Leader (2000) 274: A poor old tail-chaser who now sees the thirtieth annniversary of his breeding falling away behind him.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 109: She’d crap her pants, she knew he was a tail-chaser.
tail-drawer (n.)

(UK Und.) a thief who steals gentlemen’s swords from their sides; thus tail-drawing n., such an act.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p. : Tayle-drawers c. Sword-stealers.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 3: Some are very ingenious at Tail-drawing; which is, taking a Gentleman’s Sword from his Side at the turning of a Corner, or in a Crowd.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 5: Tail-Drawers, Such as take Gentlemens Swords from their Sides at the turning of a Corner, or in a Crowd.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 52: Tail-drawing, which is privately taking a Sword from a Gentleman’s Side, either in a Crowd, or as he walks along the Streets at Night.
[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 20: A Tale, alias Sword [...] Tale-Drawer, one that takes a Sword from a Man’s side.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: tayle-drawers Sword-stealers.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxviii: A Tail Drawer He that steals a man’s Sword from his Side.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Tayle drawers, Thieves who snatch gentlemens swords from their sides. He drew the cull’s tayle rumly; he snatched away the gentleman’s sword cleverly.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK](con. mid-18C) G.A. Sala Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous 83: I never shoved the tumbler for tail-drawing or poll-snatching on a levee-day.
tail-gap/-gate (n.)

see sense 4 above.

tail-gunner (n.)

(US) a male homosexual.

[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 180: ‘The guy’s after your ass, Muskrat!’ ‘What? You’re nuts. He’s a tail gunner. Seventy missions or more.’ ‘He’s a tail gunner [...] He’s as queer as a nine-dollar bill.’.
[US] P. Munro Sl. U.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 19: Angled mirrors in the johns so the tail-gunners could check out your equipment.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 211: To get by, Mac had to kind of shimmy over Tony’s lap — ‘I ain’t no tail gunner, dark meat, so keep movin’!’.
tail-hole (n.)

see sense 4 above.

tail job (n.)

an act of following, surveillance.

[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 55: I leaned in and showed him a dollar: ‘Tail job?’.
[US]R. Chandler Playback 20: I had a little difficulty with my driver about the tail job.
[UK]R.L. Pike Mute Witness (1997) 65: It’s a tail-job, Stan. I’ll point her out.
[US]G. Pelecanos Soul Circus 259: The road had stop lights but was straight and heavily trafficked, the easiest kind of tail job.
[US](con. 1960s) J. Ellroy Blood’s a Rover 26: He threw Phil, a tail job. Phil drove off, half-blitzed.
tailman (n.)

(US campus) a womanizer, a sexual athlete.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.
tail piece

a prostitute.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 74: A vast assortment and variety of tail pieces of all sizes and complextion from the flash mots of Dover-street, [...] and the drabs of Windmill-street, lashers of Cornwall-road.
tail-pike/-pin (n.)

see sense 2 above.

tail-pit (n.)

(US Und.) a side pocket.

[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 48: Special names are given to the pockets such as left or right breech (front trouser pocket), left or right prat (hip pocket), tail pit (side pocket), fob (under the belt), and insider (inside coat pocket).
tail-tackle (n.)

see sense 2 above.

tail tea (n.) [Once Queen Victoria had died, her son Edward VII (r.1901–10) moved the ‘drawing rooms’ to the evening, a time more congenial to his own lifestyle]

(UK society) an afternoon tea attended by aristocratic ladies who had already been at the day’s ‘royal drawing room’ (Queen Victoria’s formal receptions) where trains were a part of formal dress.

[UK] (ref. to 1880–1901) in J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
tail tree (n.)

the penis.

[UK] ‘John Anderson, My Jo’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) III 271: John Anderson, my jo, John, / When first that ye began, / Ye had as good a tail-tree / As ony ither man.
[UK] ‘John Anderson, My Jo’ in Burns Merry Muses of Caledonia (1965) 142: When first that ye began, / Ye had as good a tail-tree / As ony ither man.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
tail-trimmer (n.)

see sense 2 above.

tail-wagging (n.) (also tail-work)

sexual intercourse.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1194/2: before late C17.

In phrases

cut tail (v.)

(US) to run away.

‘Southeast Asian Crisis: Reds Do Not Retaliate’ From the Archives (1940–1979) 12 Aug. on Facts On File [Internet] It is not our purpose to escalate the war, but if events require more vigorous response, I believe our nation has the will to use that power. There is much more danger to cut tail and run.
[UK]BBC.co.uk 25 Oct. [Internet] Mayor Giuliani expressed his gratitude to Mr Gates for keeping his faith in New York at a time when many of its financial-services firms are cutting tail and leaving town.
drag one’s tail (v.)

1. (US) to mope around, to look miserable.

[US]P. Di Donato Christ in Concrete 18: Goddammit, Geremio, if you’re givin’ the men two hours off today with pay why the hell are they draggin’ their tails?

2. to move.

[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 54: Now we gotta drag our tails out of here.
get on one’s tail (v.)

(Aus.) to lose one’s temper.

[Aus]Queensland Figaro and Punch (Brisbane) 15 May. 27/1: Even Judges of the Circuit Court can get on their ‘tails,’ and, metaphorically, haul the hair off their wigs.
[Aus]Australasian (Melbourne) 1 Oct. 42/1: I’m blessed if I didn’t get properly on my tail, an’ takin’ the gun [...] runs out and bangs away as fast as I could load her, at the scrub, where I reckoned them blasted fowls was a-roostin’.
[Aus]Western Mail (Perth) 21 July 67/4: ‘I knew it would take something better than a Frenchman to stop you, once you got properly on your tail’.
[Aus]Teleg. (Brisbane) 12 Oct. 11/2: The City Council might get on their tails, and say, ‘We will he as independent as the association’.
Inverell Times (NSW) 21 Apr. 2/3: They ‘get on their tails’ and say, ‘Do what you like’.
go tail-tickling (v.) (also go tail-twitching)

of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 85: Croquer. To copulate; ‘to go tail-twitching.’.
[UK]A. Crowley Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden 23: Take out that bald-headed hermit! [...] Wollop it in! What’s the nanny-goat for, you pimp, if you can’t go tail-twitching her hairy old tuzzy-muzzy?
have a maggot in one’s tail (v.)

of a woman, to be venereally diseased.

[UK]T. Brown Letters from the Dead to the Living in Works (1760) II 251: It is as hard a matter for a pretty woman to keep herself honest in a theatre, as it is for an apothecary to keep his treacle from flies in hot weather [...] and when once she has had a maggot in her tail, all the pepper and salt in the kingdom will scarce keep her reputation from stinking.
hoist tail (v.)

(US) to get going, to set off.

[US]D.W. Hamilton ‘Pacific War Lang.’ in AS XXII:1 Feb. 55: To hoist tail. To take off, move out, leave.
hot in the tail (adj.) [hot adj. (1a)/light adj. (1)/warm adj. (15)]

1. (also light in the tail, warm...) wanton, promiscuous.

[UK] cited in M. Ingram Church Courts (1990) 313: [Calling her] bobtail whore and whore bitch, saying she was hot in the tail and had been and showed her arse before the king.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VII 58/2: light (hot, or warm) in the tail = wanton.
[US]‘Brandie’ Don’t Hate the Player 71: I’m not one of your little hot-in-the-tail girlfriends.

2. (also hot in the pants) zealous, eager, esp. sexually.

[US]V.F. Nelson Prison Days and Nights 211: They get hot in the pants and take it out on us.
[UK]R. Mais Hills were Joyful Together (1966) 33: Manny came up grinning at her in his over-bold force-ripe way, like he was hot in the pants.
[UK]A. Bleasdale Who’s Been Sleeping in my Bed 13: Well, y’know how it is, guv’nor, bit hot in the pants I was when I was a lad.
[US]Tolson & Farnsworth Harlem Portraits 26: Gen’lemen, niggers an’ white trash can’t drink like gen’lemen. Liquor makes ’em hot in the tail.
hot-tail/-tailed (adj.)

see under hot adj.

let the tail go with the hide (v.) (also let the hide go with the tallow) [butchers’/slaughterhouse jargon; it implies the throwing in of the relatively worthless tail with the valuable hide]

(US) to ignore small details while concentrating on the overall picture.

[US]DN IV 325: Let the tail go with the hide [...] To ignore matters in the presence of greater; to neglect details when larger matters are lost. Also let the hide go with the tallow.
[US]DN V 240: Tail goes with the hide. In the days before fixed prices, a clothing merchant, asked to include a pair of suspenders with a suit of clothes just purchased, hesitated at first, then acquiesced, saying, ‘Oh well, take’em; tail goes with the hide.’ The figure is from selling a slaughtered beef.
[US]J. Gould Maine Lingo 285: Tail goes with the hide [...] it doesn’t matter much one way or the other.
‘Steve Harder’ ‘Seek: Duo-Art Rolls’ on Mechanical Music Digest Archives 3 Feb. [Internet] She’s certainly interested in smaller quantities, but has been known to ‘let the tail go with the hide’ when presented with a large lot she wanted.
on someone’s tail

harassing, pursuing.

[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Jo-Jo’ in Short Stories (1937) 143: The old lady is sure gettin’ on my tail pretty hard. She threatens to kick me out.
[US]S. Longstreet Decade 317: He’s had his pan sprung by a sawbones and his finger maps etched out in acid – but it’s no dice. The Feds are on his tail.
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 209: ‘Couple o’ coppers on my tail,’ he explained. ‘Where can we go?’.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 82: Those guys had been on my tail all day.
[US] ‘The Fall’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 82: Now I’ve heard whores cry ’bout the wind being high / And the law being on their tail.
[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 53: You don’t want to believe all that rubbish about detector vans. That’s just to scare you . . . make you think that they’re on your tail.
[UK]A-Team Storybook 38: Lynch is on our tail.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 26 Aug. 15: The shapely investigator [...] on his tail.
[UK]Guardian 21 Jan. 32: No wonder the photographer from the Star is on his tail.
put someone’s tail in a crack (v.)

(US) to cause trouble for someone.

[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 42: I’m gonna get somebody else to help me and also put your tail inna crack, just on general principles.
tail out (v.) [SE tail; sense 1, i.e. one ‘moves one’s arse’]

(US) to run away, to make one’s escape.

[UK]H.R. Haggard King Solomon’s Mines n.p.: Next I made out a brown thing, seated on the table in the centre, and in another moment when, my eyes grew accustomed to the light, and I saw what these things were – I was tailing out of it as hard as my legs could carry me.

In exclamations

my tail!

a general excl. of disdain, dismissal, arrogant contempt.

[Ire]J.B. Keane Bodhrán Makers 153: ‘Anonymous my tail,’ Nora Devane scoffed.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

taildraft (n.) [SE draught/draft, the act of pulling]

(Ulster) an idler, one who holds back.

[Ire]Share Slanguage.
tail-piece (n.)

(UK Und.) three months’ imprisonment.

[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 88: Three months’ imprisonment – a tail piece.
[Aus]D.V. Lucas Aus. and Homeward 334: Some of their slang may be interesting [...] three months’, a tail piece.
tailshred (v.) [‘adapted from fowlyard behaviour involving pecking out tail feathers. 1990s’ (McGill, Dict. N.Z. Slang, 2003)]

(N.Z.) to drive a car closely (too closely) behind the one in front.

[NZ] McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.
tail-wagger (n.)

1. a dog.

[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 143: The shape on the spit was unmistakably canine: a medium-sized, meaty tailwagger.

2. a general insult [the pej. use of SE cur].

[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 252: Old bishops and colonels and other manner of tail-waggers.

In phrases

tail-end Charlie (n.) [RAF jargon tail-end charlie, a tail-gunner, the last aircraft in a flying formation]

the person or vehicle that comes last in a queue.

[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 166: Daddy D.A., who’s walking tail-end Charlie, calls out [...].