1. a tail, end, or part shaped like a fan.
  2. one of a breed of domestic pigeons, having a fan-shaped tail.
  3. any of various small birds having fanlike tails, as the Old World flycatchers of the genus Rhipidura and the American wood warblers of the genus Euthlypis.
  4. fantail goldfish.
  5. Building Trades, Architecture. a structure or structural member having a number of radiating parts, as an arch centering.
  6. Nautical.
    1. the part of a rounded stern extending abaft the aftermost perpendicular; rounded counter.
    2. the area within this.
  7. Western U.S. a mustang.
  1. Cookery. (of shrimp) shelled, split almost through, and flattened slightly before cooking.

Origin of fantail

First recorded in 1720–30; fan1 + tail1
Related formsfan-tailed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fantail

Historical Examples of fantail

  • Marie Antoinette's hoop is not bigger than Mrs. Fantail's flounces.

    The Christmas Books

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • Only about half a dozen, but all of them have fantail tomahawks and clubs.

    Edward Barry

    Louis Becke

  • The fantail, however, contained neither, and was constitutionally ccbb.


    Reginald Crundall Punnett

  • A hat similar to that of a dustman or coalheaver, which is called a fantail.

    The Slang Dictionary

    John Camden Hotten

  • This diagram is a representation of the third kind I mentioned—the Fantail.

British Dictionary definitions for fantail


  1. a breed of domestic pigeon having a large tail that can be opened like a fan
  2. any Old World flycatcher of the genus Rhipidura, of Australia, New Zealand, and SE Asia, having a broad fan-shaped tail
  3. a tail shaped like an outspread fan
  4. architect a part or structure having a number of components radiating from a common centre
  5. a burner that ejects fuel to produce a wide flat flame in a lamp or furnace
  6. a flat jet of air and coal dust projected into the air stream of a pulverized-coal furnace
  7. an auxiliary sail on the upper portion of a windmill that turns the mill to face the wind
  8. US a curved part of the deck projecting aft of the sternpost of a ship
Derived Formsfan-tailed, adjective
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