be chasing (one's) (own) tail(redirected from be chasing their tails)
be chasing (one's) (own) tail
To be taking action that is ineffectual and does not lead to progress. Refers to how a dog can exhaust itself by chasing its own tail. Come on, Bill, go to sleep. You're just chasing your tail at this point, but you might have a breakthrough with the research if you take a break from it. I've been chasing my tail on this project because so many components of it are just not working out.
be chasing tail
1. To be very busy or working very hard at some task but accomplishing little or nothing as a result; to be engaged in some fruitless or futile task or endeavor. Likened to a dog running in circles trying to catch its own tail. I'm chasing tail trying to talk to a person at the cable company. I've been on the phone for an hour!
2. To be pursuing or seeking out sexual activity with someone. (Usually used by men to refer to women.) My brother is always chasing tail in bars around town.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
be chasing your tailor
be chasing your own tail
If someone is chasing their tail or is chasing their own tail, they are using a lot of time and energy but not achieving much. I'm more relaxed now. Before, I was chasing my tail like some sort of lunatic. I've been chasing my own tail all these years.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012