fish·​tail | \ ˈfish-ˌtāl How to pronounce fishtail (audio) \
fishtailed; fishtailing; fishtails

Definition of fishtail

intransitive verb

1 : to swing the tail of an airplane from side to side to reduce speed especially when landing
2 : to have the rear end slide from side to side out of control while moving forward the car fishtailed on the icy curve

Examples of fishtail in a Sentence

The car fishtailed on the icy curve.
Recent Examples on the Web He was also seen spinning tires and fishtailing into an oncoming lane of travel. Carol Robinson |, al, "Bond revoked for teen driver in crash that killed Rod and Paula Bramblett," 18 Dec. 2019 Most runs, the rear end would fishtail, sometimes turning me completely around. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "One Simple Tip for Faster, Safer Winter Driving," 9 Dec. 2019 The truck fishtailed, entering the west traffic lane and causing a Dodge Ram pickup truck to swerve to avoid a head-on collision. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "St. Paul woman critically injured in 6-vehicle crash in Rosemount," 5 Dec. 2019 Faced with a fast-unraveling situation, Trump’s policy toward the region continued to fishtail., "“For the Syrian regime and Russia, the Americans are leaving, so that is a big achievement,” said Hassan Hassan, a Syria analyst at the Center for Global Policy. “In just one day, gone. They don’t have to worry about what this presence means for the future.”," 15 Oct. 2019 Faced with a fast-unraveling situation, Mr. Trump’s policy toward the region continued to fishtail. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "Assad Forces Surge Forward in Syria as U.S. Pulls Back," 14 Oct. 2019 The third car fishtailed and got stuck in a yard on Bay Ridge Avenue. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "18-year-old arrested for hitting Glendale cop with a stolen car while fleeing police," 25 June 2018 Braids The Insta influencer hair trend of the moment, the braid game ranged from DIY fishtails to more elaborate pierced styles. Booth Moore, The Hollywood Reporter, "Top 10 Coachella Fashion Trends: Boob Glitter, Fanny Packs, Pierced Braids and More," 16 Apr. 2018 Suddenly, the car fishtailed on the wet street, hit a tree and ricocheted into a telephone pole, crushing the vehicle and knocking Boesen unconscious. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "What Once Was Lost," 11 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fishtail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fishtail

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fishtail

Time Traveler

The first known use of fishtail was in 1927

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Statistics for fishtail

Last Updated

23 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fishtail.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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How to pronounce fishtail (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fishtail

chiefly US, of a car, truck, etc. : to slide in an uncontrolled way with the rear end going from side to side

More from Merriam-Webster on fishtail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fishtail

Comments on fishtail

What made you want to look up fishtail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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