Definition of swallowtail in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈswɒləʊteɪl/


Image of swallowtail
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.
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.
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.



Pronunciation: /ˈswɒləʊteɪld/
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.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: swal¦low|tail

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