1. having a deeply forked tail like that of a swallow, as various birds.
  2. having an end or part suggesting a swallow's tail.
  3. (of a flag) having a triangular indentation in the fly so as to create two tails.

Origin of swallow-tailed

First recorded in 1690–1700
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swallow-tailed

Historical Examples of swallow-tailed

  • I should have liked the chance of catching a swallow-tailed butterfly for my collection.'

  • An armorial lance flag, pointed or swallow-tailed at the fly.

  • The Pennon is a small, narrow flag, forked or swallow-tailed at its extremity.

    The Flags of the World

    F. Edward Hulme

  • The beaver hat and swallow-tailed coat were kept in the lead.

    Negro Tales

    Joseph Seamon Cotter

  • The commodore's broad pendant is a very similar flag, but it tapers slightly, and is swallow-tailed.

    The Flags of the World

    F. Edward Hulme

British Dictionary definitions for swallow-tailed


  1. (of a bird) having a deeply forked tail
  2. having a part resembling a swallow's tail
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