- a short, sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat, broad head.
- a rope for extending the lower forward corner of a course.
- the lower forward corner of a course or fore-and-aft sail.
- the heading of a sailing vessel, when sailing close-hauled, with reference to the wind direction.
- a course run obliquely against the wind.
- one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a ship proceeding to windward.
- a course of action or conduct, especially one differing from some preceding or other course.
- one of the movements of a zigzag course on land.
- a stitch, especially a long stitch used in fastening seams, preparatory to a more thorough sewing.
- a fastening, especially of a temporary kind.
- stickiness, as of nearly dry paint or glue or of a printing ink or gummed tape; adhesiveness.
- the gear used in equipping a horse, including saddle, bridle, martingale, etc.
verb (used with object)
- to fasten by a tack or tacks: to tack a rug to the floor.
- to secure by some slight or temporary fastening.
- to join together; unite; combine.
- to attach as something supplementary; append; annex (often followed by on or onto).
- to change the course of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack.
- to navigate (a sailing vessel) by a series of tacks.
- to equip (a horse) with tack.
verb (used without object)
- to change the course of a sailing vessel by bringing the head into the wind and then causing it to fall off on the other side: He ordered us to tack at once.
- (of a sailing vessel) to change course in this way.
- to proceed to windward by a series of courses as close to the wind as the vessel will sail.
- to take or follow a zigzag course or route.
- to change one’s course of action, conduct, ideas, etc.
- to equip a horse with tack (usually followed by up): Please tack up quickly.
- on the wrong tack, under a misapprehension; in error; astray: His line of questioning began on the wrong tack.
- a person or thing that tacks
- Australian slang a young person; child
- a short sharp-pointed nail, usually with a flat and comparatively large head
- British a long loose temporary stitch used in dressmaking, etc
- See tailor’s-tack
- a temporary fastening
- stickiness, as of newly applied paint, varnish, etc
- nautical the heading of a vessel sailing to windward, stated in terms of the side of the sail against which the wind is pressing
- a course sailed by a sailing vessel with the wind blowing from forward of the beam
- one such course or a zigzag pattern of such courses
- a sheet for controlling the weather clew of a course
- the weather clew itself
- nautical the forward lower clew of a fore-and-aft sail
- a course of action differing from some previous coursehe went off on a fresh tack
- on the wrong tack under a false impression
- (tr) to secure by a tack or series of tacks
- British to sew (something) with long loose temporary stitches
- (tr) to attach or appendtack this letter onto the other papers
- nautical to change the heading of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack
- nautical to steer (a sailing vessel) on alternate tacks
- (intr) nautical (of a sailing vessel) to proceed on a different tack or to alternate tacks
- (intr) to follow a zigzag route; keep changing one’s course of action
- informal food, esp when regarded as inferior or distastefulSee also hardtack
- riding harness for horses, such as saddles, bridles, etc
- (as modifier)the tack room
- a lease
- an area of land held on a lease
n.1“clasp, hook, fastener,” also “a nail of some kind,” late 13c., from Old North French taque “nail, pin, peg,” probably from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch tacke “twig, spike,” Low German takk “tine, pointed thing,” German Zacken “sharp point, tooth, prong”); perhaps related to tail. Meaning “small, sharp nail with a flat head” is attested from mid-15c. The meaning “rope to hold the corner of a sail in place” is first recorded late 14c. n.2“horse’s harness, etc.,” 1924, shortening of tackle (n.) in sense of “equipment.” Tack in a non-equestrian sense as a shortening of tackle is recorded in dialect from 1777. n.3“food,” 1833, perhaps a shortening and special use of tackle (n.) in the sense of “gear.” v.1late 14c., “to attach with a nail, etc.,” from tack (n.1). Meaning “to attach as a supplement” (with suggestion of hasty or arbitrary proceeding) is from 1680s. Related: Tacked; tacking. v.2“sail into the wind,” 1550s, from tack (n.1) in the sailing sense. Figurative sense of “course or line of conduct or action” is from 1670s. Related: Tacked; tacking. see get down to brass tacks; on the right tack; sharp as a tack.