- the tail of a swallow or a deeply forked tail like that of a swallow.
- any of several butterflies of the genus Papilio, characterized by elongated hind wings that resemble the tail of a swallow, as P. polyxenes (black swallowtail).Compare spicebush swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, zebra swallowtail.
- tail coat.
Origin of swallowtail
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for swallowtail
Old Swallowtail reached the stone-yard and climbed the fence.Mary Louise in the Country
L. Frank Baum (AKA Edith Van Dyne)
The Red Star line followed in 1821, and soon after the Swallowtail line.Fifth Avenue</p>
Arthur Bartlett Maurice
To the left at one tip of the crescent the flash of Swallowtail Light glowed and died like the fire in a gigantic cigarette.
Once Swallowtail was passed the voyage had begun, and the lead belonged to any one who could take it.
I aint in a swallowtail coat, but every one knows me, and they know that Ive been up in the roof tryin to stop a leak.Droll Stories of Isthmian Life
- any of various butterflies of the genus Papilio and related genera, esp P. machaon of Europe, having a tail-like extension of each hind wing: family Papilionidae
- the forked tail of a swallow or similar bird
- short for swallow-tailed coat
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 swallowtail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper