turn tail


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Related to turn tail: stick with, run by, let off
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turn tail

To run away or flee, usually in fear. The burglars turned tail at the sound of our security alarm.
See also: tail, turn

turn tail (and run)

Fig. to flee; to run away in fright. I couldn't just turn tail and run, but I wasn't going to fight that monster, either. Sometimes turning tail is the only sensible thing to do.
See also: tail, turn

turn tail

Run away, as in When they heard the sirens, the boys turned tail. This term alludes to an animal's turning its back in flight. [Mid-1500s]
See also: tail, turn

turn tail

If you turn tail, you turn and run away from someone or something because you are frightened of them. The rebels were forced back until they turned tail and fled. I go weak all over when I see her. Stumbling, I almost turn tail.
See also: tail, turn

turn tail

turn round and run away. informal
See also: tail, turn

turn ˈtail (and run, flee, etc.)

run away from a fight or a dangerous situation: As soon as he saw the police he turned tail and fled.
See also: tail, turn

turn tail

verb
See also: tail, turn

turn tail, to

To turn one’s back on; to run away. This term, with its image of turning one’s rear in flight, has been used since the sixteenth century. “Such a haggarde as would turne taile to a full fist,” wrote Robert Greene (Euphues His Censure, 1587).
See also: turn
References in periodicals archive ?
Her curiosity is enough to suppress the adrenalin-fuelled urge to turn tail.
It was enough to make new arrivals turn tail and take the next train out of town.
When one of his pupils was threatened by the servants of one such demon, who had been turned into tigers for the purpose, Chodoryo countered by creating a giant lion which, in the magic battle that ensued, attacked the tigers and made them turn tail.
But the law suit - plus the possibility of a nearby rival gambling mecca being set up - was enough to make BLB turn tail.
The EoACAyinvader' would stop short, taken aback by this bundle of sound and fury, wondering if he should turn tail or press on regardless.
She's like a woman possessed, with a thousand yard stare that could make Clint Eastwood turn tail and run.
Those who have been calling for his head will suddenly turn tail, act all sympathetic and blame the pressures of trying to stay in contention in what is now the super league of Premiership teams.
He doesn't feel confident about coping so, naturally, he wants to turn tail and run.
If he feels he's being pushed along too quickly, he could easily turn tail and run.
A glare from his craggy, sun-burned features is said to be enough to make the enemy turn tail and run.
Owner Neil Rogers, a former builder turned pig breeder, said: "All the postmen have to do is walk calmly towards Ronnie and Reggie and they will turn tail.
They're fearless furry creatures that won't turn tail at hi-tech scarers, shooting only makes them breed faster and, when a photographer turned up to snap them, his car was wrecked.