Definition of fishtail in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfiSHˌtāl/


[usually as modifier]
1An object that is forked like a fish’s tail: carved detail including fishtail terminals on the banisters
More example sentences
  • Many of the dresses feature sheer overlays and striking asymmetric and fishtail hems, with matching shawls included in the price.
  • For furniture that goes with this lamp why not try to match it up with the black burnt oil and waxed patina ‘French Scroll Table’ with legs forged in 20 mm square stock with classic fishtail scrolls.
  • The peoples of the far south used fishtail points with expanded stems, and the forest and coastal peoples used triangular points, often with tapered stems.
1.1An uncontrolled sideways movement of the back of a motor vehicle: he hit the brakes, sending the car into a fishtail that carried him across the street
More example sentences
  • The left front tire blew, sending the car into a violent fishtail.
  • The rear tires aren't sticking enough, meaning a fishtail is likely.
  • It went into a dangerous fishtail, taking him much too close to the edge of the road.


[no object, usually with adverbial of direction]
(Of a vehicle) make a fishtail movement: the vehicle fishtailed from one side of the road to the other
More example sentences
  • According to a police spokesman, the driver lost control of the vehicle after his tar-laden trailer began fishtailing.
  • Suddenly, I lost control of the vehicle as it fishtailed all over the street, then the vehicle stopped.
  • The convertible fishtailed, squealing, and ended up halfway off the road.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fish·tail

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