the tail of a fox.
any of various grasses having soft, brushlike spikes of flowers.

1375–1425; late Middle English; see fox, tail1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
foxtail (ˈfɒksˌteɪl)
1.  any grass of the genus Alopecurus, esp A. pratensis, of Europe, Asia, and South America, having soft cylindrical spikes of flowers: cultivated as a pasture grass
2.  any of various similar and related grasses, esp any of the genus Setaria

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


any of the weedy grasses in the genera Alopecurus and Setaria of the family Poaceae. There are about 25 species of Alopecurus, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone. Most species are perennial weeds, with dense, cylindrical, often brushlike, flower clusters that resemble foxes' tails. Meadow foxtail (A. pratensis), which is native to Eurasia, is used as a forage grass in northern North America; it stands 30 to 80 centimetres (about 12 to 30 inches) high and has a light-green flower cluster 7 cm long.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Seed depth and pathogens affect fatal germination of velvetleaf and giant foxtail.
Garrison creeping foxtail can increase the forage yield of wet meadows.
Planting foxtail millet, a summer annual forage with low water needs, helps conserve water for subsequent crops.
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