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fish +‎ tail



fishtail ‎(plural fishtails)

  1. The tail of a fish, or an object resembling this.
  2. The skidding of the back of a vehicle from side to side.

Derived terms[edit]



fishtail ‎(third-person singular simple present fishtails, present participle fishtailing, simple past and past participle fishtailed)

  1. (intransitive) To swing the back of a vehicle (originally an aircraft) from side to side.
    As we approached the runway, the pilot fishtailed slightly to reduce landing speed.
  2. (transitive) To cause the back of (a vehicle) to swing from side to side.
    • 2013, Jeffrey Bernhardt, The Indian: America's Waking Dream, Berkeley Radicals, War, Riots, Drugs and Revolution
      But Bruce wasn't done baiting the jocks. He fishtailed the car; it swerved and reversed direction, heading straight for the three jocks who were chasing them on foot. It looked like he was going to run the car over the three men.
  3. (intransitive) To move with the tail swinging from side to side in this way.
    • 1943, Raymond Chandler, The High Window, Penguin 2005, p. 3:
      A large black and gold butterfly fish-tailed in and landed on a hydrangea bush almost at my elbow, moved its wings slowly up and down a few times, then took off heavily []