One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person or thing that brings up the rear in a group or formation.
- ‘Having been the tail-end Charlie of the five, Glasgow is now near the top of the shopping list as far as investors are concerned.’
- ‘This will temporarily address potential supply shortages but it will also mean higher prices as the UK becomes the tail-end Charlie of the western European gas market.’
- ‘Leaders of the pack on the first assault, our squadron was now a tail-end Charlie - praying that flak would run out before we did.’
- ‘As I'm running the new engine in I agree to be tail-end Charlie - that's the end of the convoy for non-bikers.’
- ‘George dove right into the pack of enemy aircraft and shot down five, starting with tail-end Charlie.’
- ‘At about 100 yards, Barker fired on a tail-end Charlie, which instantly broke up in the air.’
- 1.1 A member of the crew of a military aircraft who operates a gun from a compartment at the rear.
- ‘Few thought of the perils, discomfort and occasional successes of the rear gunner, the ''Tail-end Charlie.''’
- ‘The father was a 'Tail-End Charlie' or rear gunner in a Lancaster Bomber.’
- ‘The first commissioned rear-gunner in the RAF during the Second World War, he was nick-named "Tail End Charlie" by his crew and that name rapidly became adopted for all rear-gunners in the RAF.’
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