Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Resembling or suggestive of the tail of a fish in shape or movement.
  • intransitive v. To have the rear end of a forward-moving vehicle swerve from side to side out of control: The truck fishtailed on the icy road.
  • intransitive v. To swing the tail of an airplane from side to side in order to reduce speed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The tail of a fish, or an object resembling this.
  • v. To swing the back of a vehicle (originally an aircraft) from side to side.
  • v. To move with the tail swinging from side to side in this way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. to have the rear end skid from side to side, out of control: -- said of automobiles or other vehicles.
  • transitive v. to slow down by moving the tail sideways, of an airplane.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. slow down by moving the tail sideways

Etymologies

fish +‎ tail (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Meanwhile Kelly Osbourne – who America seems to have decided is a "fashion expert" – is claiming that "the fishtail is a massive trend this year", which is great news if you're a cod.

    Golden Globes 2012 – as it happened

  • You might not think that the fishtail is your sort of thing either, but if you want authenticity, then it 's your best bet.

    Parka Perfection

  • Meanwhile Kelly Osbourne - who America seems to have decided is a "fashion expert" - is claiming that "the fishtail is a massive trend this year", which is great news if you're a cod.

    The Guardian World News

  • The Formula One driver was caught by police executing a "burnout" and "fishtail" - tricks in which wheels are intentionally spun and skidded - in front of fans ahead of the Melbourne

    mirror.co.uk - Home

  • A police officer tried several times to perform what is known as a fishtail maneuver to make the car lose control, but those attempts failed until the driver exited the highway and tried to turn into a restaurant parking lot.

    KAKE - HomePage - Headlines

  • "It is our belief that [electronic stability control] should prevent the kind of fishtail event described," Ms. Piscitelli said.

    Consumer Reports Calls Lexus GX 460 Unsafe

  • "burnout" and "fishtail" - tricks in which wheels are intentionally spun and skidded - in front of fans ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in March.

    icCheshireOnline

  • The 'fishtail' was a small trench-mortar bomb, which the Germans substituted for the rifle-grenade and used with great effect.

    Q.6.a and Other places Recollections of 1916, 1917 and 1918

  • The U.S. National Highway Traffic S.fety Administration said it's in the process of checking the GX 460 to ensure compliance with standards for electronic stability control, which "should prevent the kind of fishtail event described in the CU's tests."

    Bloomberg

  • The electronic stability-control system "should prevent the kind of fishtail event described" in the magazine's tests, she said.

    APA

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