9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[duhv-teyl] /ˈdʌvˌteɪl/
noun, Carpentry.
a tenon broader at its end than at its base; pin.
a joint formed of one or more such tenons fitting tightly within corresponding mortises.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
Carpentry. to join or fit together by means of a dovetail or dovetails.
to join or fit together compactly or harmoniously.
Origin of dovetail
1555-65; so named from its shape
Related forms
dovetailer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dovetail
  • So closely do the gradations of culture dovetail into one another.
  • For one thing, the agencies keep their own lists of investigations, which do not completely dovetail.
  • For best results, the magnetic properties of the tape must dovetail with the characteristics of the recorder.
  • In addition, the film is framed by opening and closing coffee-shop scenes that turn out to dovetail.
  • The days of people reading political books that don't hawk or dovetail with their politics are history.
  • dovetail chisel made specifically for cutting dovetail joints.
British Dictionary definitions for dovetail


a wedge-shaped tenon
Also called dovetail joint. a joint containing such tenons
(transitive) to join by means of dovetails
to fit or cause to fit together closely or neatly: he dovetailed his arguments to the desired conclusion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dovetail

late 16c. (n.), 1650s (v.), from dove (n.) + tail. So called from resemblance of shape in the tenon or mortise of the joints to that of the bird’s tailfeather display. Related: Dovetailed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dovetail



To say something linked and sequential: Let me dovetail on what you just said (1970s+ Army)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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