can't make head or tail of(redirected from tails of)
can't make heads or tails (out) of (someone or something)
Cannot understand someone or something at all; cannot make any sense of someone or something. I've been working with the new software for hours, but I still can't make heads or tails out of it. I can't make heads or tails of that new guy in accounting. Sometimes, he's really friendly, and then other times he acts like he's never met me before.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
can't make head or tail of
Also can't make heads or tails of. Fail to understand, be quite confused about, as in I can't make head or tail of these directions. A version of this term dates back to Roman times, when Cicero wrote Ne caput nec pedes ("neither head nor feet") to describe confusion. In the current idiom the precise allusion is unclear: head and tail may mean top and bottom, beginning and end, or the two sides of a coin. [Second half of 1600s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
can’t make head or/nor ˈtail of something(informal) not be able to understand something at all: I can’t make head or tail of this picture — is it upside down?
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