from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short or shortened tail.
  • n. An animal, such as a horse, having a short or shortened tail.
  • n. Something that has been cut short or abbreviated.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A short, or deliberately shortened tail.
  • n. Hence, also said of some animals that have a bobtail, such as certain canines or nags.
  • n. A tractor which performs without its trailer.
  • v. To drive a tractor without its trailer.
  • v. To drive a truck or other vehicle without its trailer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Bobtailed.
  • n. An animal (as a horse or dog) with a short tail.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A short tail, or a tail cut short.
  • n. A contemptible fellow; a cur.
  • n. Collectively, the rabble: used in contempt, most frequently in the phrase rag-tag and bobtail.
  • n. A kind of short arrow-head.
  • n. In poker, a four-card flush or straight.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. large sheepdog with a profuse shaggy bluish-grey-and-white coat and short tail; believed to trace back to the Roman occupation of Britain
  • adj. having a short or shortened tail
  • n. a short or shortened tail of certain animals


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Finally, Mrs. Carrillo cleared things up for me, and this is what a bob-tail is in the Jingle Bells song: A bobtail is a shorted tail of a horse, dog or sheep.

    Archive 2005-12-01

  • Since he hasn't been home in Texas since January 1, this -- the "bobtail" of a truck based in New Jersey -- is JB's world.

    Barbara Ehrenreich: With the Truckers in DC

  • And the word "bobtail" has caused much confusion - in that I had absolutely no idea what a bobtail was.

    Archive 2005-12-01

  • You remember the time when we had horses drawing cars of various lengths, some of full length, some familiarly called "bobtail," I know that at times I have covered both the beginning and the end of the journey in the same day, so great was the speed.

    Toronto and her Place in the British Empire

  • Michael, who had followed in at her invitation, betrayed a ridiculously swollen nose as he sniffed noses with Jerry, wagged his bobtail to Harley in greeting, and was greeted in turn with a blissful hand laid on his head.


  • When Kearns laid down his hand it showed a bobtail flush, while Harnish's hand proved that he had had the nerve to call on a pair of tens.

    Chapter 2

  • The muscular 17-pound bobtail cat, which belongs to William and Shannon Secolo, fought off coyotes inside its Kennewick home early one morning last week ....

    Coyotes Vs.

  • I rip off bobtail pull fur down back peeling it over belly yank it over head across paws drop it on old newspaper insert knife where naked legs spread apart slash down thru tender belly as thin blood drip drips

    norbert kraft | skinning a rabbit « poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground

  • The Japanese bobtail, for example, does not seem genetically similar to cats from Japan, indicating the breed may have originated elsewhere.

    On the Trail of the Cat, Scientists Find Surprises « Isegoria

  • The bobtail squid has a light-emitting organ that relies on colonization by a luminescent bacterium, Vibrio fischeri.

    No metazoan is an island - The Panda's Thumb


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  • The cab without the trailer, or a straight truck.

    March 10, 2008