Definition of swallowtail in English:


Line breaks: swal¦low|tail
Pronunciation: /ˈswɒləʊteɪl


  • 1 (also swallowtail butterfly) A large brightly coloured butterfly with tail-like projections on the hindwings.
    • Family Papilionidae: many species, including the European Papilio machaon, of fenland country
    More example sentences
    • Citrus attracts the swallowtail butterfly, and the larvae resemble bird droppings, but you will want to leave the young alone for the sake of future butterflies.
    • Dill and fennel are good plants for the caterpillars of the black swallowtail butterfly.
    • After mating, the male tiger swallowtail butterfly deposits a small ‘mating plug’ inside the female to try to prevent her from mating again.
  • 2 [usually as modifier] A deeply forked tail.
    More example sentences
    • I am not going back as far as the days of the corduroy and the swallow-tailed coat but what I remember myself.
    • Two military knights, in uniforms of scarlet swallowtail coats with black arm bands, stood in solemn vigil, guarding the Princess's coffin.
    • They all look slightly ridiculous in their epaulets and tin pot hats and braided swallowtail coats.
  • 2.1A thing resembling a deeply forked tail in shape: a black swallowtail coat
    More example sentences
    • If pointed out to someone they can obviously see that something with a fish / swallowtail takes longer to shape and glass than a squared off squashtail.
    • A true example will have flawless craftsmanship, swallowtail joints, and copper tacks.



More example sentences
  • The ones I missed right off the bat were the swallow-tailed butterflies (the big yellow and black ones that used to be everywhere), the long-tailed hummingbird and Lignum Vitae trees.
  • Higher still, trapeze performers dive and fall: swallow-tailed kite, painted bunting, Cooper's hawk.
  • There were gopher tortoises here and above us swallow-tailed kites.

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Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody