Revised as of 11 October 2017
I’m not sure how writers who have supposedly read a few tales in their lives could possibly confuse tail with tale. I know a few tails might be swishing and flicking if that tale gets really interesting. And I know my tail gets to twitching when I run across a word confusion, ahem, *grin*.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Noun 1, 2;
Verb 3, intransitive & transitive
Hindmost part of an animal, especially when prolonged beyond the rest of the body, such as the flexible extension of the backbone in a vertebrate, the feathers at the hind end of a bird, or a terminal appendage in an insect 1
End of a long train or line of people or vehicles
[Informal] A person’s buttocks
[Vulgar slang] A woman’s genitals
[Tails] Reverse side of a coin (used when tossing a coin)
[Of an object in flight] Drift or curve in a particular direction
[Rare] Provide with a tail
[Archaic] Join one thing to another
|Fictitious or true narrative or story, especially one that is imaginatively recounted
[Archaic] A number or total
the trailed tail of a capital Q 1
The cars were head to tail.
The men looked debonair in white tie and tails.
an armored truck at the tail of the convoy
The forecast says we’re in for the tail of a hurricane.
Fireworks followed when the coach kicked Ryan in his tail.
My wife thinks going out with you guys will keep me from chasing tail.
The next pitch tailed in on me at the last second.
Her calligraphy was topped by banners of black ink and tailed like the haunches of fabulous beasts.
Each new row of houses tailed on its drains to those of its neighbors.
|You lived to tell the tale.
Storytellers tell tales.
Paul Bunyan is a tall tale.
We’ll need an exact tale of the dead bodies.
Ma, Henry’s telling tales again.
…and thereby hangs a tale.
|Adjective: tailless, taillike
Noun: tailer, taillessness
|History of the Word:|
|1 Old English tæ(e)l is from a Germanic base meaning hair, hairy tail.
Related to Middle Low German tagel meaning twisted whip, rope’s end.
From the Old French taille meaning notch, tax, and from taillier meaning to cut.
Based on Latin talea meaning twig, cutting.
|Old English talu meaning telling, something told.
Of Germanic origin
Related to Dutch taal meaning speech and the German Zahl meaning number, also to tell
[Archaic] Probably from Old Norse
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?