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[verb en-teyl; noun en-teyl, en-teyl] /verb ɛnˈteɪl; noun ɛnˈteɪl, ˈɛn teɪl/
verb (used with object)
to cause or involve by necessity or as a consequence:
a loss entailing no regret.
to impose as a burden:
Success entails hard work.
Law. to limit the passage of (a landed estate) to a specified line of heirs, so that it cannot be alienated, devised, or bequeathed.
Law. to cause (anything) to descend to a fixed series of possessors.
the act of entailing.
Law. the state of being entailed.
any predetermined order of succession, as to an office.
Law. something that is entailed, as an estate.
Law. the rule of descent settled for an estate.
Origin of entail
1350-1400; Middle English entailen (v.), entail (noun). See en-1, tail2
Related forms
entailer, noun
entailment, noun
nonentailed, adjective
preentail, verb (used with object)
unentailed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for entail
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you do, you will only entail a new disguise and a new hiding on me.

    Ravenshoe Henry Kingsley
  • If that does not entail simony and sacrilege, then such things do not exist at all.

    The Life of Cesare Borgia Raphael Sabatini
  • It follows that the slightest check might entail a serious disaster.

    Annals of a Fortress E. Viollet-le-Duc
  • Who could have thought that the law of entail could sway a mother's affections?

    Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I. Charles James Lever
  • Both land and money were absolutely at his disposal, unencumbered by entail or settlement.

    The Parisians, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for entail


verb (transitive)
to bring about or impose by necessity; have as a necessary consequence: this task entails careful thought
(property law) to restrict (the descent of an estate) to a designated line of heirs
(logic) to have as a necessary consequence
(property law)
  1. the restriction imposed by entailing an estate
  2. an estate that has been entailed
Derived Forms
entailer, noun
Word Origin
C14: entaillen, from en-1 + taille limitation, tail²
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 entail

mid-14c., "convert (an estate) into 'fee tail' (feudum talliatum)," from en- (1) "make" + taile "legal limitation," especially of inheritance, ruling who succeeds in ownership and preventing it from being sold off, from Anglo-French taile, Old French taillie, past participle of taillier "allot, cut to shape," from Late Latin taliare. Sense of "have consequences" is 1829, from notion of "inseparable connection." Related: Entailed; entailling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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