put salt on the tail of

put salt on the tail of (someone or something)

obsolete To try to capture or encapsulate someone or something. An allusion to the folk method of capturing birds by sprinkling salt on their tail feathers. We spend so much time putting salt on the tail of an ideal version of life—more money, more property, better status—that we forget to enjoy our present circumstances.
See also: of, on, put, salt, tail

put salt on the tail of

capture.
This phrase alludes to the humorous advice traditionally given to young children about the best way to catch a bird.
See also: of, on, put, salt, tail