Definition: (1) The last item of a list. (2) All but the first item of a list; the list following the head.

See also head.

Note: The first definition is common when building lists from other language constructs, such as C pointers. The second definition occurs in languages with primitive list types, such as ML or Lisp.

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 17 December 2004.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "tail", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: