- to swerve or skid from side to side, as the rear end of a car.
- to slow an airplane by causing its tail to move rapidly from side to side.
- such a maneuver.
- a gas burner having two jets crossing each other so as to produce a flame resembling a fish's tail.
- a device having a long, narrow slot at the top, placed over a gas jet, as of a Bunsen burner, to give a thin, fanlike flame.
- Jewelry. a setting consisting of four prominent triangular corner prongs to hold the stone.
Origin of fishtail
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for fish-tail
The other, shaped like a fish-tail, sent it to right or left.The Motor Boys in the Clouds
There was a train of a fish-tail sort, a little twitching afterthought.What Will People Say?
The gas-jet is on at the full—or rather the tap is, for the fish-tail burner doesn't realise its ideal.Somehow Good
William de Morgan
A blast-lamp is likely to be more useful here than the fish-tail burner.Laboratory Manual of Glass-Blowing
Francis C. Frary
But Bob was made of different stuff, and he began now to work the boat along by paddling softly, fish-tail fashion.Quicksilver
George Manville Fenn
- an aeroplane manoeuvre in which the tail is moved from side to side to reduce speed
- a nozzle having a long narrow slot at the top, placed over a Bunsen burner to produce a thin fanlike flame
- to slow an aeroplane by moving the tail from side to side
- to drive with the rear of the vehicle moving from side to side in an uncontrolled fashion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for fish-tail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper