| Words ad infinitum | 3 Comments

So this is what it means after all these years...Sometimes you go through life hearing a certain word or term being used and you have never understood what it means because you have either been too lazy to look it up in the dictionary or you have felt too embarrassed to ask the person what it means.

Such has been the case for me with the word dovetail. I have heard it used on occasion but never understood what it was. Hard to believe for someone like myself with a university degree.

Today I was watching a television interview with some mid-east political expert and he was explaining how everything was "dovetailing" so nicely in favor of Bush and the war with Iraq for which he was preparing. Obviously in this context it means "to connect or combine precisely or harmoniously" and at least that much made sense.

So this time around I decided to look it up in the dictionary and I found the following definitions:

"A joint formed by inserting a projecting wedge-shaped member into a correspondingly shaped cutout member; A fan-shaped tenon that forms a tight interlocking joint when fitted into a corresponding mortise."

Just in case this is the first time for you also, I have created this blog entry so that you too can impress your friends and relatives with your new found knowledge. Pushing you along further on the road to learning all there is to know in the world.


Dovetailing is a carpenter's term for joining together corners without having to use nails, and that particular style of woodworking is quite sought after these days. Early American antique furniture was frequently made this way.

Thanks alot deb for the extra information. I will have to check with my youngest sister who is an expert on antiques early American style.

I have known what a dovetail joint is for a long time and I understand how the term is applied to other areas to mean "meshing together", but I would like to know the origin of the word. Does it have anything to do with doves or their tails? Or do they mesh their tails together during some activities? Just asking!

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This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

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Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

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