Definitions

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

  • n. A fan-shaped tenon that forms a tight interlocking joint when fitted into a corresponding mortise.
  • n. A joint formed by interlocking one or more such tenons and mortises.
  • transitive v. To cut into or join by means of dovetails.
  • transitive v. To connect or combine precisely or harmoniously.
  • intransitive v. To be joined together by means of dovetails.
  • intransitive v. To combine or interlock into a unified whole: The nurses' schedules dovetailed, so that one was always on duty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of joint where adjoining boards are fastened by interlocking fan-shaped cutouts.
  • v. To unite with a dovetail joint.
  • v. To fit together well.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A flaring tenon, or tongue (shaped like a bird's tail spread), and a mortise, or socket, into which it fits tightly, making an interlocking joint between two pieces which resists pulling a part in all directions except one.
  • transitive v.
  • transitive v. To cut to a dovetail.
  • transitive v. To join by means of dovetails.
  • transitive v. To fit in or connect strongly, skillfully, or nicely; to fit ingeniously or complexly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To unite by tenons in the form of a pigeon's tail spread let into corresponding mortises in a board or timber: as, to dovetail the angles of a box.
  • Figuratively, to unite closely, as if by dovetails; fit or adjust exactly and firmly; adapt, as one institution to another, so that they work together smoothly and harmoniously.
  • n. In carpentry, a tenon cut in the form of a dove's tail spread, or of a reversed wedge; a manner of fastening boards or timbers together by letting tenons so cut on one into corresponding cavities or mortises in another.
  • n. plural Two irons, one with a flange, the other with a recess, cut to a taper: used to hold carriage-doors in position.

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

  • n. a mortise joint formed by interlocking tenons and mortises
  • v. fit together tightly, as if by means of a dovetail

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

dove +‎ tail

Examples

  • A thru single dovetail_, Fig. 267, is similar to a slip-joint except that instead of a tenon there is a dovetail.

    Handwork in Wood

  • First, check the drawers to make sure they contain dovetail joints, which complement the natural strength of the wood.

    SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles - Part 1017

  • I agree with John the dovetail is a perfect joint the way it works is genius, (when done right) I either need someone to coach me on a different way to get a good dovetail (everytime) or change.

    Mandolin Cafe News

  • All quality dressers should be made out of wood-on-wood joints such as dovetail and doweling joints.

    The Evolution Dresser by Ferruccio Laviani

  • They all kind of dovetail and make up a story that's bizarre but ...

    CNN Transcript Jul 3, 2009

  • Heals has lovely wool and mohair "dovetail" rugs in two-tone pinks (4,450 pounds; heals. co.uk).

    Style: The Bachelorette Pad

  • And just to kind of dovetail on what Renee was talking about a little bit about the Stockholm syndrome -- I was a hostage negotiator for 22 years, and this is, you know, something we talk about now and then and just kick it around.

    CNN Transcript Jan 12, 2007

  • Is there any indication -- these two points kind of dovetail actually -- any indication that the Iraqi government is actually seeking out this kind of assistance, the kind of assistance being described by the Iranian ambassador in Iraq, is there any indication that Iraq is seeking this out?

    CNN Transcript Jan 29, 2007

  • "I just kind of dovetail all these things together," he says.

    Archive 2006-12-01

  • Does that kind of dovetail with allegations that he had a lot of affairs?

    CNN Transcript Mar 2, 2006

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