1 [tak]
a short, sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat, broad head.
a rope for extending the lower forward corner of a course.
the lower forward corner of a course or fore-and-aft sail. See diag. under sail.
the heading of a sailing vessel, when sailing close-hauled, with reference to the wind direction.
a course run obliquely against the wind.
one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a ship proceeding to windward.
a course of action or conduct, especially one differing from some preceding or other course.
one of the movements of a zigzag course on land.
a stitch, especially a long stitch used in fastening seams, preparatory to a more thorough sewing.
a fastening, especially of a temporary kind.
stickiness, as of nearly dry paint or glue or of a printing ink or gummed tape; adhesiveness.
the gear used in equipping a horse, including saddle, bridle, martingale, etc.
verb (used with object)
to fasten by a tack or tacks: to tack a rug to the floor.
to secure by some slight or temporary fastening.
to join together; unite; combine.
to attach as something supplementary; append; annex (often followed by on or onto ).
to change the course of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack.
to navigate (a sailing vessel) by a series of tacks.
to equip (a horse) with tack.
verb (used without object)
to change the course of a sailing vessel by bringing the head into the wind and then causing it to fall off on the other side: He ordered us to tack at once.
(of a sailing vessel) to change course in this way.
to proceed to windward by a series of courses as close to the wind as the vessel will sail.
to take or follow a zigzag course or route.
to change one's course of action, conduct, ideas, etc.
to equip a horse with tack (usually followed by up ): Please tack up quickly.
on the wrong tack, under a misapprehension; in error; astray: His line of questioning began on the wrong tack.

1300–50; (noun) Middle English tak buckle, clasp, nail (later, tack); cognate with German Zacke prong, Dutch tak twig; (v.) Middle English tacken to attach, derivative of the noun; see tache, attach

tacker, noun
tackless, adjective

tacks, tax.

12. affix, fasten, add.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tack1 (tæk)
1.  a short sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat and comparatively large head
2.  (Brit) a long loose temporary stitch used in dressmaking, etc
3.  See tailor's-tack
4.  a temporary fastening
5.  stickiness, as of newly applied paint, varnish, etc
6.  nautical the heading of a vessel sailing to windward, stated in terms of the side of the sail against which the wind is pressing
7.  nautical
 a.  a course sailed by a sailing vessel with the wind blowing from forward of the beam
 b.  one such course or a zigzag pattern of such courses
8.  nautical
 a.  a sheet for controlling the weather clew of a course
 b.  the weather clew itself
9.  nautical the forward lower clew of a fore-and-aft sail
10.  a course of action differing from some previous course: he went off on a fresh tack
11.  on the wrong tack under a false impression
12.  (tr) to secure by a tack or series of tacks
13.  (Brit) to sew (something) with long loose temporary stitches
14.  (tr) to attach or append: tack this letter onto the other papers
15.  nautical to change the heading of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack
16.  nautical to steer (a sailing vessel) on alternate tacks
17.  (intr) nautical (of a sailing vessel) to proceed on a different tack or to alternate tacks
18.  (intr) to follow a zigzag route; keep changing one's course of action
[C14 tak fastening, nail; related to Middle Low German tacke pointed instrument]

tack2 (tæk)
informal See also hardtack food, esp when regarded as inferior or distasteful
[C19: of unknown origin]

tack3 (tæk)
a.  riding harness for horses, such as saddles, bridles, etc
 b.  (as modifier): the tack room
[C20: shortened from tackle]

tack4 (tæk)
1.  a lease
2.  an area of land held on a lease
[C15: from tak a Scots word for take]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"clasp, hook, fastener," 1296, from O.N.Fr. taque "nail, pin, peg," probably from a Gmc. source (cf. M.Du. tacke "twig, spike," Low Ger. takk "tine, pointed thing," Ger. Zacken "sharp point, tooth, prong"); perhaps related to tail. Meaning "small, sharp nail with a flat head"
is attested from 1463. Verb sense of "to attach as a supplement" (with suggestion of hasty or arbitrary proceeding) is attested from 1683. The meaning "rope to hold the corner of a sail in place" is first recorded 1481; hence the verb meaning "sail into the wind," first recorded 1557, which lead to the fig. sense of "course or line of conduct or action" (1675).

"horse's harness, etc.," 1924, shortening of tackle in sense of "equipment." Tack in a non-equestrian sense as a shortening of tackle is recorded in dialect from 1777.

"food," 1833, perhaps a shortening and special use of tackle in the sense of "gear." Hard-tack was originally "ship's biscuit," soft-tack being bread.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Tacking on an extra hour or two of sleep a night is the way to catch up.
And tacking on social or moral incentives could add to the impact of monetary
They sailed within ten yards of the mainland on the port side, trying to edge
  into the harbor without tacking again.
It integrates the use of links into the creative and intellectual process as
  opposed to tacking them on afterwards.
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