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horsetail

[hawrs-teyl] /ˈhɔrsˌteɪl/
noun
1.
Also called scouring rush. any nonflowering plant of the genus Equisetum, having hollow, jointed stems.
2.
a horse's tail formerly used as a Turkish military standard or as an ensign of a pasha, the number of tails increasing with the rank.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English horse tayle. See horse, tail1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for horsetails

horsetail

/ˈhɔːsˌteɪl/
noun
1.
any tracheophyte plant of the genus Equisetum, having jointed stems with whorls of small dark toothlike leaves and producing spores within conelike structures at the tips of the stems: phylum Sphenophyta
2.
a stylized horse's tail formerly used as the emblem of a pasha, the number of tails increasing with rank
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 horsetails

horsetail

n.

c.1400, from horse (n.) + tail (n.). As a kind of plant, from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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horsetails in Science
horsetail
  (hôrs'tāl')   
A member of a genus, Equisetum, of seedless vascular plants having a jointed hollow stem and narrow, sometimes much reduced leaves. Plants extremely similar to modern horsetails are known from fossils 300 million years old. The horsetails are the last surviving members of the phylum Sphenophyta, which dominated the forests of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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