1 Zoology A fin at the posterior extremity of a fish’s body, typically continuous with the tail. Also called caudal fin.
- The tail fin of most ray-finned fish, with the exception of sturgeons and paddlefish, is homocercal, nearly symmetrical about the midline.
- The overall appearance of the fish is similar to that of a small shark, given the shape of the body, the powerful tail fin, and the elevated anterior portion of the second dorsal fin.
- Mechanical testing of the tadpole tail fin has revealed that the fin is viscoelastic and stiffer in small rather than large deformations.
2 Aeronautics A projecting vertical surface on the tail of an aircraft, providing stability and typically housing the rudder.
- Though not yet covered, the tail fin, rudder, horizontal stabilizer and elevator are all built.
- Shocked travellers described how the larger Boeing 767 shook from side to side as its wing ripped off a tail fin from the smaller aircraft.
- The aircraft structure incorporates larger strakes below the rear section of the fuselage below the position of the tail fin.
3An upswept projection on each rear corner of a car, popular in the 1950s.
- Even if people hardly knew who Harley Earl was, they associated tail fins with General Motors.
- Earl went on to influence design by giving recognisable features to cars such as chrome, tail fins, curved windshields, and the infamous Motoramas.
- There was nothing in the marketplace of the 1950s that indicated a desire for tail fins on cars in the U.S. and Europe.
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