The Meaning of Entails: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of entails? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word entails, including its definition, etymology, usage, example uses, and more!

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What does the word entails mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary, the word entail (pronunciation of entail: en-tayl) is a verb that means to make something necessary or to involve something. This necessary accompaniment or necessary consequence can vary greatly. For example, long showers could entail a water shortage as a logical consequence. Capital-intensive factories with good production design could entail economic efficiency – or legal action from employees at the existence of uneven power relations and subordination.  The exclusion of certain groups could entail passivity or reflective judgments. A corrupt leader could entail the rupture of diplomatic relations and the emperor’s fall, as well as the fall of his ideas. The word entail often refers to a practical conclusion.

In property law, the word entail means to create a legal condition in which property can only be passed down to particular people. This would be used in the phrase “to entail something to someone.” The inheritance of property may have been given careful thought or logic by ancestors in a different time, but the heirs may have a different opinion in the modern day. This comes from the idea of the creation of a fee tail for a specific class of heirs or predetermined order of succession for the order of descent of an estate. In the past, many felt it was necessary to determine a heritage for the line of descendants of their estate. Commonly, only men could inherit property. It was considered a necessity for this particular class of issue to choose specific heirs. Such practices were common in places like Ireland and England where the greater aristocracy ruled the external world. In modern law, this is less common and these inheritances can have considerable changes.

Many different languages also use words that mean entails. You may notice that some of these words look similar to one another. These are called cognates. Cognates are words that look and sound similar between languages while also retaining a similar meaning. These are often formed when two words have the same origin or root. This list of translations for the word entails is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: comporter‎, impliquer‎, requérir‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: zahtijevati‎
  •  Spanish: conllevar‎
  •  Dutch: verlangen‎
  •  Persian: مستلزم بودن‎ (mostalzem budan), ایجاب کردن‎ (ijâb kardan)
  •  Italian: comportare‎, implicare‎
  •  Occitan: implicar‎, comportar‎, requèrre‎
  •  Russian: тре́бовать‎, влечь‎
  •  Finnish: sisältää‎, tuoda mukanaan‎
  •  Ido: necesigar‎
  •  Portuguese: implicar‎, pressupor‎, requerer‎
  •  German: bedingen‎, mit sich bringen‎, nach sich ziehen‎, verursachen‎

What is the origin of the word entails?

According to Etymonline, the word entail has been used as a verb since the mid-14th century to mean to convert an estate into “fee tail” or “fee-tail,” which is short for feudum talliatum. This comes from the root en meaning make and the root taile meaning legal limitation. This is used particularly with regard to inheritance and ownership. This comes from the Anglo-French taile and Old French taillie, which is the past participle of taillier, a French verb meaning to allot. This comes from the Late Latin taliare, meaning to split. The word entail was used to mean to have consequences by 1839. Related words include entailed, entailing, entailment (n.), entail, tagliatelle, tail and tailor. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word entails?

There are many different words that can be used in place of the word entails. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a great English language vocabulary tool to know in order to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word entails is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  flow
  •  occasion
  •  call for
  •  stem
  •  lead to
  •  involve
  •  demand
  •  require
  •  evoke
  •  grow
  •  proceed
  •  finish
  •  result in
  •  germinate
  •  accrue
  •  culminate
  •  come out
  •  rise
  •  occur
  •  necessitate
  •  emerge
  •  bring about
  •  come from
  •  cause
  •  fruit
  •  spring
  •  come of
  •  follow
  •  originate
  •  attend
  •  encompass
  •  effect
  •  conclude
  •  appear
  •  entangle
  •  become of
  •  end
  •  produce
  •  eventuate
  •  derive
  •  tangle
  •  ensue
  •  arise
  •  work out
  •  pan out
  •  wind up
  •  terminate
  •  issue
  •  turn out
  •  come forth
  •  impose
  •  give rise to
  •  emanate
  •  be due to
  •  come about
  •  eventualize

There are also numerous different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word entails. These are called antonyms, which are another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word entails is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  ban
  •  bar
  •  block
  •  boycott
  •  eliminate
  •  ignore
  •  omit
  •  ostracize
  •  preclude
  •  prevent
  •  prohibit
  •  refuse
  •  reject
  •  remove
  •  rule out
  •  suspend
  •  bate
  •  blackball
  •  blacklist
  •  bounce
  •  debar
  •  disallow
  •  eject
  •  embargo
  •  evict
  •  except
  •  interdict
  •  obviate
  •  occlude
  •  oust
  •  proscribe
  •  repudiate
  •  sideline
  •  veto
  •  close out
  •  count out
  •  drive out
  •  estop
  •  force out
  •  get rid of
  •  keep out
  •  leave out
  •  lock out
  •  pass over
  •  put out
  •  refuse admittance
  •  set aside
  •  shut out
  •  shut the door on
  •  throw out
  •  ward off

How can the word entails be used in a sentence?

The word entails can be used in a variety of different ways to refer to some consequence or result. Below are a few example sentences for the word entails. 

The woman was distraught when she discovered that her grandfather’s property could only be entailed to male relatives. 

The large investment entails risk – but also high reward. 

Overall, the word entails refers to some logical conclusion or consequence. In many European countries, the term entail refers to the equivalent legal concepts of the medieval Latin feodum talliatum, which gives us the term fee tail. This refers to such restriction of an inheritance of an estate to only certain parties. 


  1. entail: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense
  2. Origin and meaning of entail | Online Etymology Dictionary  
  3. ENTAIL Synonyms: 18 Synonyms & Antonyms for ENTAIL | Thesaurus 
  4. EXCLUDE Synonyms: 70 Synonyms & Antonyms for EXCLUDE | Thesaurus 
  5. Definition of Entail | Merriam-Webster 
  6. ENTAIL | Cambridge English Dictionary