• WordNet 3.6
    • n cattail tall erect herbs with sword-shaped leaves; cosmopolitan in fresh and salt marshes
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n cattail kăt"tāl (Bot) A tall erect rush or flag (Typha latifolia) growing widely in fresh and salt marshes, with long, flat, sword-shaped leaves, having clusters of small brown flowers in a dense cylindrical spike at the top of the stem; -- called also bulrush and reed mace. The leaves are frequently used for seating chairs, making mats, etc. See Catkin.☞ The lesser cat-tail is Typha angustifolia.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cattail The common name of the tall reed-like aquatic plant Typha latifolia: so called from its long cylindrical furry spikes: often popularly called bulrush and cat-o'-nine-tails. Also cat's-tail.
    • n cattail Same as cat's-tail grass (which see, under cat's-tail).
    • n cattail Same as catkin.
    • n cattail Nautical, that end of a cat-head which is fastened to the ship's frame.
    • n cattail In cotton manufacturing, any corded, stringy tuft of cotton, due to faulty setting of a machine.
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In literature:

At one side the swamp came close, here cattails grew in profusion.
"Freckles" by Gene Stratton-Porter
In her hand was a brown "cattail," perfectly full and round.
"The Shape of Fear" by Elia W. Peattie
I saw the bull rush and Cattail flag today.
"The Journals of Lewis and Clark" by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
At this point, Marcus noticed a brown something bearing a strong resemblance to the swamp stalk, known among boys as the cattail.
"Round the Block" by John Bell Bouton
The cattails waved their brown tassels.
"The Grey Cloak" by Harold MacGrath
At its head a pebbly beach sloped up to a sea-wall, behind which a growth of cattails bespoke a stagnant lagoon.
"Jim Spurling, Fisherman" by Albert Walter Tolman
Only starving people tried to make food from cattail seeds and the inner bark of slippery elm and willow trees.
"Shaman" by Robert Shea
Below are the cattails and ferns and mosses.
"She Buildeth Her House" by Will Comfort
Directly in front of the house was a watery slough, around and in which cattails, lily pads and other swamp vegetation grew in lush profusion.
"Swamp Cat" by James Arthur Kjelgaard
Nests are placed on the ground surface, in pasture grasses, marsh grasses, cattail, sedge, and smartweed.
"The Breeding Birds of Kansas" by Richard F. Johnston

In news:

Pond cleanout leads to cattail fever.
'Nature' is theme for new garden center, Cattail Corner.
Nature and design come together at a new landscape and garden center, Cattail Corner along Highway 12 in Howard Lake.
Hair, Spikes, Cattail, and Turkeyfoot.
He became concerned that cattails were taking over the pond and endangering the cows' water supply.
He could have sprayed the cattails with herbicide.
But despite their ubiquitous nature, cattails are controversial.
Aside from their value as beautiful, graceful shoreline plants that can mesmerize you as they wave in the wind, cattails serve a number of functions in nature.
Cattails – like other plants – filter runoff water, keeping lakes cleaner.
Hair, Spikes, Cattail , and Turkeyfoot.
Loveland's annual ' Golf Ball Drop' is coming up this August-at Cattail Creek Golf Course.
Loveland's annual 'Golf Ball Drop' is coming up this August-at Cattail Creek Golf Course.
Cattails proliferate in the St Lawrence River wetland.
The non-native snails lay their eggs on dry surfaces hanging over the water, including cypress knees, cattails, and walls.
An almost-un­precedented occurrence -- and birders flocked to the small park to see the rare wader and to enjoy the pond, the cattail marshes, the grassy meadows, the swamp­lands and to sample the rich and diverse birdlife.