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Tail vs. tale

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  • Tail has many definitions, including (1) the elongated appendage on the posterior part of some animals, (2) the hindmost part of something, (3) to follow, and (4) to provide with a tail. Tale means (1) a recital of events, (2) a story, or (3) a lie. So tale usually has to do with telling stories of some kind, while tail involves one thing being behind another.

    Examples

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    He offers the example of peacocks’ tails, which grow larger and more colorful on healthy, parasite-free males. [WSJ Real Time Economics]

    The Wild Bride tells the tale of a child won by the devil in a drunken pact with her father. [Irish Times]

    I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. [Montreal Gazette]

    Sanders has been performing for children for years as the Sourdough Cowboy, singing songs and telling tales. [Houston Chronicle]

    The secret agents sought the truth in tailing suspected communist insurgents. [The Age]

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    Comments

    1. Which is correct : fairytale or fairy tale

    2. swag

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