One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A docked tail of a horse or dog.
- ‘Also, unlike cheetahs and lions (which have long tails that help provide balance when the animals run) Smilodon had a bobtail.’
Mid 16th century: probably from bob + tail. It was originally recorded as a humorous term for a kind of broad-headed arrow, probably because it looked as though it had been cut short.
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