Main definitions of tack in English

: tack1tack2tack3

tack1

noun

  • 1A small, sharp broad-headed nail.

    ‘tacks held the remaining rags of carpet to the floor’
    • ‘Pull the webbing tight and tack it in place using two rows of size 12 tacks.’
    • ‘Here, we padded a wall with batting and fabric, then secured crisscrossing ribbons with fabric tacks.’
    • ‘Today the anchors and chain, piles of hardware that broke through as the vessel tilted, iron ballast, bronze pins, lead hull sheathing, tacks, musket and pistol shot, cannonballs and cannon - all lie scattered where the ship's bow struck.’
    • ‘The tack hammers are very small but the actual tacks themselves are very sharp.’
    • ‘And as you can see, there are nails or tacks affixed to the side, held in place with plastic wrap.’
    • ‘He took the yarn and looped it around each of the tacks in order.’
    • ‘These make great places to store nails, screws, nut, bolts, washers, tacks, and staples.’
    • ‘In the house, the canisters are good for storing tacks, nails, and small screws.’
    • ‘For added support and color, ribbons run through the centers of the wreaths and fasten to the top of the door frame with tacks.’
    • ‘One room we were decorating, I put copper tacks all over the wall, and I connected them with colored yarn.’
    • ‘‘I tried curry combs, cat brushes and Velcro but finally settled on a simple 4-inch square of carpet with a few small tacks sticking through it,’ he says.’
    • ‘All the separate pieces are precariously held together with glue, tape, tacks, and pins.’
    • ‘Clean-up crews were called to the scene as the van had shed its load of nails and tacks and roadblocks were set up outside the George Ward School in Melksham, while other diversions were put in place.’
    • ‘You could stick tacks, staples, pins, or just about anything sharp in it and you could take it right back out.’
    • ‘A chair made entirely of nails, barbed wire, tacks, and sand paper would be more comfortable.’
    • ‘The only ever so slightly disconcerting thing is that I had eight screws and four tacks left over at the end.’
    • ‘Stretch the sheet over the door, securing with tacks along the outer edges.’
    • ‘Production on this scale required a high degree of organization and many suppliers for the webbing, stuffing, covering, fringe, tacks, and nails.’
    • ‘I got two kitchen chairs recently that are pretty nice except for this fabric, so I holed myself up today with some upholstery tacks and my fabric and got to work.’
    • ‘As we excavated this area we found tiny pieces of twisted gold wire, gold foil, and little gold tacks, presumably used to tack the foil onto a wooden object sitting on a post.’
    pin, drawing pin, nail, tin tack, staple, spike, rivet, stud
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A drawing pin.
      ‘here are some tacks—put up a notice’
      • ‘This wooden tote comes to the rescue by organizing all the necessary implements, including pens, self-adhesive notepads, tacks, and paper dips.’
      • ‘Startlingly, her creative materials include marker caps, spools of thread, tacks, stickers, and pipe cleaners.’
      • ‘Insert map pins, metal tacks, and pushpins with plastic heads to create dots, stripes, and hearts.’
      • ‘‘You wore labels last year,’ Tiffany said suddenly, looking the tiniest bit disbelieving as she jumped into the conversation, placing her box of tacks down onto her desk.’
      • ‘The man picked up a tack from a rickety wooden table and fastened the clipping to a paint-peeled wall.’
      • ‘Chapters and medical facilities wishing to display a poster should bring it to the convention center and affix it to the display board provided with materials they supply (eg, tacks, hook and loop fasteners).’
      • ‘Ryan tugged gently at the tacks on the corners of a poster until they released from the wall.’
  • 2A long stitch used to fasten fabrics together temporarily, prior to permanent sewing.

  • 3A method of dealing with a situation or problem; a course of action or policy.

    ‘as she could not stop him going she tried another tack and insisted on going with him’
    • ‘The first tack, known as Plan A, is the latest version of Ottawa's appeasement strategy.’
    • ‘Although the British made some initial moves in that direction, they soon changed tack.’
    • ‘Taking a different tack, he proposed in 1746 to build two more clocks.’
    • ‘Instead, trustees will take a different tack during their 30-minute meeting.’
    • ‘Two years ago the tack was changed again.’
    • ‘So he changed tack, keeping the innovative production methods but applying them to better-known repertoire, until he felt he had built up an audience that was loyal to the company.’
    • ‘However, when Russia sent Sputnik into orbit in October 1957, he changed tack and put his efforts into America's space exploration programme.’
    • ‘He is taking the opposite tack - and if he succeeds, it'll be the first time a new vaccine is launched in a country with massive medical need but little profit potential.’
    • ‘But since gay marriage is such a hot button, he suggests we take a different tack to achieve equality: let's get rid of straight marriage!’
    • ‘In the summer of 1998, when the Bank was still getting used to independence, it changed tack abruptly from raising rates in the summer to cutting them in the autumn.’
    • ‘Although we might expect him to respond to such success with decorum, he took the opposite tack, highlighting his improprieties and provocations.’
    • ‘We were underweight but changed tack about a month ago and are now slightly overweight.’
    • ‘Lobbying by the organisations failed to persuade the government to change tack, however.’
    • ‘We take a simpler tack, serving the roast chicken - colored deep red by the ground annato seeds in the achiote paste - on a bed of the sautéed onions.’
    • ‘Having worn out these straw men almost completely, educators are trying a new tack.’
    • ‘Far from abandoning it when he changed tack, it is still going strong.’
    • ‘The reason I adopt this tack is because entropy of the universe is said to be directional.’
    • ‘The opposite tack, deleting most messages, is also risky.’
    • ‘Changing tack, I decided the bar staff might be better placed to help.’
    approach, way, method, process
    View synonyms
  • 4Sailing
    An act of changing course by turning a boat's head into and through the wind, so as to bring the wind on the opposite side.

    • ‘As the pair battled to the finish, Ian immediately tacked off to gain clear wind, but Jonathan timed his next tack well and came back to cover Ian across the line and win the event by half a boat length.’
    • ‘As I approach my first tack, I pull in the main sail.’
    • ‘The enemy ships made a clumsy tack northerly, not expecting to see Indefatigable in their path.’
    • ‘Royal Caribbean has recognized that it is heading for this iceberg, and its captains have ordered a sharp tack.’
    1. 4.1A boat's course relative to the direction of the wind.
      ‘the brig bowled past on the opposite tack’
      • ‘Bowles gave the order to bring the Indy on a northeasterly larboard tack.’
      • ‘On the water, a yacht on starboard tack has undisputed right-of-way in any confrontation.’
      • ‘They steer onto a port tack and begin to sail.’
      • ‘As we started the climb, I told the crew that they must helm the yacht very carefully on the opposite tack, as the rigging was only holding up one side of the mast.’
      • ‘There was indeed a ship headed in the direction of Dolphin which was still on her southeasterly tack while Indefatigable was now headed northwest.’
    2. 4.2A distance sailed between tacks.
      ‘it's a shame to see a yacht drop her sails and start the diesel just because she has to make a few short tacks’
      • ‘On the long beat back to Henholme, Fiscal Folly crossed the lake to the west shore, while F for Joy set a course down the east, with the rest of the fleet on shorter tacks in the centre of the lake.’
      • ‘Terrified of turning the boat into a land-yacht, I minced around in the middle of the navigation in uselessly short tacks that took us no appreciable distance against the wind.’
      • ‘The mainly south-westerly air-stream, alternating with south-easterlies, turned the beat to Temple into a series of short tacks as the fickle breeze tempted boats on to a course before dying away and changing direction.’
      • ‘On the short windward leg to the finish, Pilgrim drew alongside Naiad, but was then forced to put in a short tack while Naiad was able to hold her line and clinch a deserved second place and victory in the Classic fleet.’
  • 5Sailing
    A rope for securing the corner of certain sails.

    1. 5.1The corner to which a rope is fastened.
  • 6[mass noun] The quality of being sticky.

    ‘cooking the sugar to caramel gives tack to the texture’

verb

  • 1[with object and adverbial] Fasten or fix in place with tacks.

    ‘he used the tool to tack down sheets of fibreboard’
    • ‘Sometime in the late 16th century, furniture makers put padding and the cushion together and covered them with a decorative outer material that was then tacked to the chair's frame.’
    • ‘To use the guide, align the cut edge with your cut line and clamp or tack the guide to your workpiece.’
    • ‘Rigid foam board insulation is tacked onto the exterior sheathing, fortifying the thermal shield.’
    • ‘Just tack them to the back of the frame, or glue on with a hot glue gun.’
    • ‘Despite the weeks he spent tacking posters to walls, only 30 people turned up.’
    • ‘Unless you are quite handy with a circular saw, it's a good idea to clamp or tack a guide onto the work piece.’
    • ‘In many places, his telegraph line was simply tacked onto trees instead of being tacked onto poles.’
    • ‘Tassels hung from her ceiling fan and sketches were still tacked to the wall.’
    • ‘Working in opposite corners, pull the fabric tight, roll edges under, and temporarily tack in place.’
    • ‘If squirrels become a problem at a tree-mounted feeder, tack a 3-foot section of sheet metal around the trunk or branch.’
    • ‘Some designs are glued to the walls or ceiling, while most are tacked on with small nails.’
    • ‘Otherwise we recommend ripping this page from the magazine and tacking it up alongside those calendar girls who mock you from above your workbench.’
    • ‘Temporarily tack it in place at the top and bottom.’
    • ‘The fabric is stretched over the frame and tacked or stapled into place.’
    • ‘So my first act as the room's inhabitant was tacking a few posters to the walls and planting framed snapshots of my close circle of friends on the shelves.’
    • ‘There was only one other guy in the room but he appeared to be busy tacking something to the sand-coloured wall.’
    • ‘He took it without a word, tacking it to the bulletin board over his desk.’
    • ‘Then, I saw a lottery ticket that I think someone had tacked up on the wall.’
    • ‘When our firstborn, Nate, started walking, she tacked a cloth tape to the inside wall of our closet and measured his progress against the pencil marks she made on the wall.’
    • ‘Push the panel into the glued surface and use a level to make certain it is plumb before you tack it into position and glue it down permanently.’
    pin, nail, staple, fix, fasten, attach, secure, affix, put up, put down
    View synonyms
  • 2[with object and adverbial] Fasten (pieces of cloth) together temporarily with long stitches.

    ‘when the dress was roughly tacked together, she tried it on’
    • ‘The seams should be tacked down to avoid chafing.’
    • ‘I use these ends to sew the corners more securely by invisibly tacking them down to the coat.’
    • ‘Fringe two same-sized strips, then stack, tack them together and use as one piece.’
    • ‘If you think it may get sloppy and peek out you can easily tack it to the shirt body on the front and bottom facing seam lines or into the ribbing seam if ribbing is left at the bottom.’
    stitch, baste, sew, bind, hem
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Add or append something to something already existing.
      ‘the castles have new wings and other bits tacked on’
      ‘customers tell of surprise ‘nuisance fees’ tacked on to every transaction’
      • ‘Needless to say, there is usually some thematic crossover; however in many cases the theme is tacked on so weakly that the historical theme alone is all that stands between the engrossing and the bland.’
      • ‘This tax is a percentage of the assessed value of the portion of real property occupied or used, and it is tacked on top of the commercial property tax.’
      • ‘Of course, these calculations are based on what the chancellor announced yesterday and, like most Budgets, details and amendments are tacked on in the following months, often with little publicity.’
      • ‘Is it that the architects didn't bother to read the regulations, and tacked it on afterwards?’
      • ‘Instead, the philosophical bits are tacked on in set speeches - much like in student essays, really.’
      • ‘The last scene in particular appears out of place, almost as if it was tacked on at a later date to provide a better sense of closure.’
      • ‘It has been introduced without the ownership of the providers themselves, and it was tacked on to a bill that had an industry training levy fund in it.’
      • ‘But when the visitors get to Pattaya, they are fleeced when extra charges are tacked on when they arrive.’
      • ‘Although the word ‘conspiracy’ simply refers to the act of joining together in secret agreement to do a wrongful act, tacking it on as an adjective somehow evokes images of unfounded fears and even paranoia.’
      • ‘Hitchcock seems disinterested in the relationship, tacking it on to fulfill audience expectations.’
      • ‘Designing security into systems from the beginning, instead of tacking it on at the end, would give us the security we need, while preserving the civil liberties we hold dear.’
      • ‘Yes, that was slightly different in that, as part of the sentencing process, it was tacked on.’
      • ‘It says the final tab, however, can go several million dollars higher as extra costs are tacked on.’
      • ‘I often tack holidays on the end of tours, but this is sacred: I never work when I'm skiing.’
      • ‘I'm sure some of these may have had more realistic endings and the happier ones were tacked on by the demands of the studio, who always avoid offending the public.’
      • ‘The final settlement could balloon to $130 million after interest and lawyers' fees are tacked on.’
      • ‘If a pun related to the animal can be tacked on it must be, no matter how lame the joke is.’
      • ‘Just when I was standing to leave, I decided to tack something on to our meaningful conversation.’
      • ‘The bill suggests that it will be fairer to lift the excise duty on fuel, rather than tacking the increased cost on to the registration fee.’
      • ‘I just wrote this in an email and since I liked it better than what I wrote above, I thought I'd just tack it on.’
  • 3Sailing
    [no object] Change course by turning a boat's head into and through the wind.

    ‘their boat was now downwind and they had to tack’
    Compare with wear
    • ‘He spotted it, and they quickly tacked over west.’
    • ‘We sight Northern Caye, our anchorage for the night, on the horizon and tack to starboard.’
    • ‘She was tacking to come around on Indefatigable's starboard side.’
    1. 3.1[with object]Alter the course of (a boat) by tacking.
      ‘I tacked the ship shortly after midnight’
      • ‘This is a good arrangement for some sailors, but tacking the Genoa will require going forward to pull the sail through the slot or furling the Genoa and unfurling it on the new tack.’
      • ‘Watching his handpicked crew in action, expertly tacking the boat, it's hard to believe Team Adventure will stand a chance against his well-funded campaign.’
      • ‘After another half hour, the wind shifts, and the guys on deck need to tack the boat.’
    2. 3.2[with adverbial of direction]Make a series of changes of course while sailing.
      ‘but what happens when you have to tack up a narrow channel singlehanded?’
      • ‘Standing a moment longer on the shore he watches the dinghy, until it tacks out of sight on the far side of the broad bay, heading for harbour.’
      • ‘She points to the left side of the bay, where a small sailing boat is tacking past the tumble of fallen cliff.’
      • ‘I had a mental picture of the surface with the sun shining, and sailing boats tacking to and fro.’
      • ‘Added to the tremendous loading on an anchor line in high winds is the fact that in high winds boats do not tend to lie head to wind, but rather tack back and forth.’
      • ‘There she tacked east to west in the lee of the island, and reported winds gusting to 60 knots from the west-northwest, and large to moderate seas.’

Phrases

  • on the port (or starboard) tack

    • With the wind coming from the port (or starboard) side of the boat.

      ‘as soon as the yacht is established on the starboard tack, the jib sheet is let fly’
      • ‘It is also easy to just put yourself on a broad reach on the starboard tack any time you wish to use the spinnaker to go downwind.’
      • ‘When the boat was sailed on the starboard tack, seawater was siphoning into the boat.’
      • ‘If the tidal stream sets towards the right of the apparent wind, boats on the starboard tack will be freed and boats on the port tack will be headed.’
      • ‘We push on but our mainsail trim needs that runner on the port tack and we drop away a little from the class leaders.’
      • ‘The boat will turn almost 180° and you will find yourself back on the port tack you were on before the beginning of the maneuver.’

Origin

Middle English (in the general sense ‘something that fastens one thing to another’): probably related to Old French tache clasp, large nail.

Pronunciation:

tack

/tak/

Main definitions of tack in English

: tack1tack2tack3

tack2

noun

  • [mass noun] Equipment used in horse riding, including the saddle and bridle.

    • ‘At present they have to travel to the stables, carrying saddles and other tack, every day and to ensure the security of the property.’
    • ‘The last two to three times you work your horse before the show, ride her with your show tack and make sure all equipment fits properly.’
    • ‘She passed the tree where the horse's tack was propped and grabbed Hawk's bridle, the silverwork glinting in the moonlight.’
    • ‘She dismounted in front of Shadowed Fury's stall, and took off his tack and began to groom the stallion into perfection.’
    • ‘After the two had managed to set up the horse's tack, Allen stepped out of the stall, grinning broadly.’
    • ‘He smiled down at her and leaned back against the tack and saddlebags that they'd piled on top of each other.’
    • ‘When they stopped and made camp, she was unable to relieve her horse of its tack.’
    • ‘Horses are shod with iron shoes and fitted with salvaged horse tack.’
    • ‘The three stood in silence and watched as the defenders made final adjustments to their armor and their horses' tack.’
    • ‘Too many training methods place too much emphasis on what kind of tack or equipment to use with the trainer conveniently selling that equipment.’
    • ‘New materials will also be used for tack and horse equipment.’
    • ‘Whilst waiting for the wagons, the boys organised sentries, checked their horses' tack, loaded their revolvers and relaxed.’
    • ‘A good horse is a good horse, regardless of what sort of tack it's ridden in.’
    • ‘Use of defective tack is not a risk of horseback riding that an equine provider is unable to eliminate.’
    • ‘Though there was a large amount of care equipment, tack, and supplies, there were only four horses.’
    • ‘Keen riders and horse owners were urged to attend the awareness day to help prevent thefts of trailers, tack and horse boxes.’
    • ‘Along with making riding tack from scratch, he also mends pieces and fits his work to the horse.’
    • ‘A young leukaemia sufferer has endured a further blow after thieves stole riding tack belonging to a family friend who had just bought a horse for her to enjoy riding.’
    • ‘Though he had left his leather hauberk with his horse's tack and dunked his head in a water barrel, he still felt too uncomfortable to eat much.’
    • ‘The film industry still does not come close to using remotely authentic-looking horse tack and, for the most part, never did.’

Origin

Late 18th century (originally dialect in the general sense ‘apparatus, equipment’): contraction of tackle. The current sense dates from the 1920s.

Pronunciation:

tack

/tak/

Main definitions of tack in English

: tack1tack2tack3

tack3

noun

informal
  • [mass noun] Cheap, shoddy, or tasteless material.

    ‘this pop will never trivialize itself and be described as cheap tack’
    • ‘If the makers of the film did one thing right, with what is otherwise wholly sentimental tack, it was to cast these two as the leads.’
    • ‘Tourist tack is almost absent; instead, there are a number of delicatessens, a good wine bar, an antiquarian bookshop and even a shop specialising in period jewellery.’
    • ‘Rather than set out to offer an alternative to novelty acts, it cashes in on cheap tongue-in-cheek tack.’
    • ‘The assumption that 50s consumers didn't know tack when they saw it is about as safe as the assumption that 50s teenagers didn't have sex.’
    • ‘In LaChapelle's interpretation of the desert oasis, it is almost as if the city does not know that it is the epitome of tack and distaste.’
    • ‘Only five minutes from the rivers of tourist tack around the station, but miles away in spirit, this tiny store perches on a corner near the top of the Canale di Cannaregio.’

Origin

1980s: back-formation from tacky.

Pronunciation:

tack

/tak/