swallowtail

noun

swal·​low·​tail ˈswä-lō-ˌtāl How to pronounce swallowtail (audio)
-lə-
1
: a deeply forked and tapering tail (as of a swallow)
2
3
: any of various usually large brightly marked butterflies (family Papilionidae, especially genus Papilio) with each hind wing typically having an elongated process
swallow-tailed adjective

Illustration of swallowtail

Illustration of swallowtail
  • swallowtail 3

Examples of swallowtail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What to do: Control for swallowtail butterflies is not necessary. Abigail Celaya, The Arizona Republic, 4 May 2024 Its unique swallowtail design was by John Eisemann. Olivia Munson, The Courier-Journal, 5 Jan. 2024 The team was also able to capture a honeybee's view of a caterpillar's anti-predator display; a zebra swallowtail butterfly foraging on flowers; a closeup shot of a leaf-footed bug egg; and a jumping spider. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 23 Jan. 2024 Some types of crab spiders and the giant swallowtail caterpillar also sport white spots and are thought to be emulating the pasty-white urea component of bird excrement. Elizabeth Anne Brown, Scientific American, 13 Dec. 2023 In addition, caterpillars of azure and swallowtail butterflies move off their host plants during the autumn, in search of upright stalks to keep their chrysalises off the ground. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2023 Pack a picnic and follow the swallowtail butterflies throughout the trails. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, 5 Oct. 2023 The swallowtail butterflies had been on the agency’s candidate waitlist for three decades, according to the group. Breanne Deppisch, Washington Examiner, 27 July 2023 Other butterflies rely on a single host plant for survival as well, such as zebra swallowtail butterflies and paw paw trees, and spicebush swallowtail butterflies on spicebush shrubs. Susan Brownstein, cleveland, 25 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swallowtail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of swallowtail was in 1703

Dictionary Entries Near swallowtail

Cite this Entry

“Swallowtail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swallowtail. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

swallowtail

noun
swal·​low·​tail ˈswäl-ō-ˌtāl How to pronounce swallowtail (audio)
1
: a deeply forked and tapering tail (as of a swallow)
2
: any of various usually large butterflies in which the hind wing is elongated into a process that resembles a tail
swallow-tailed
ˌswäl-ō-ˈtāld
adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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