Definition of fishtail in English:



  • 1usually as modifier An object which is forked like a fish's tail.

    ‘fishtail battlements’
    • ‘For furniture that goes with this lamp why not try to match it up with the black burnt oil and waxed patina ‘French Scroll Table’ with legs forged in 20 mm square stock with classic fishtail scrolls.’
    • ‘She wore a lavish lilac fishtail dress made especially for the occasion by her mum.’
    • ‘The peoples of the far south used fishtail points with expanded stems, and the forest and coastal peoples used triangular points, often with tapered stems.’
    • ‘Many of the dresses feature sheer overlays and striking asymmetric and fishtail hems, with matching shawls included in the price.’
    • ‘Other notable features are the skirted mudguards and the fishtail exhaust box.’
  • 2An uncontrolled sideways movement of the back of a motor vehicle.

    ‘he hit the brake, sending the car into a fishtail that carried him across the street’
    • ‘With a bit of a fishtail I'm stomping the pedals to accelerate again.’
    • ‘It went into a dangerous fishtail, taking him much too close to the edge of the road.’
    • ‘I kept my foot on the gas, rode out the fishtails, and finally reached a dry spot where I thought I could turn around.’
    • ‘The rear tires aren't sticking enough, meaning a fishtail is likely.’
    • ‘The left front tire blew, sending the car into a violent fishtail.’


  • no object, usually with adverbial of direction (of a vehicle) make an uncontrolled sideways movement.

    ‘the vehicle fishtailed from one side of the road to the other’
    • ‘It fishtailed wildly before crashing into a light post and coming to a complete stop.’
    • ‘Suddenly, I lost control of the vehicle as it fishtailed all over the street, then the vehicle stopped.’
    • ‘The convertible fishtailed, squealing, and ended up halfway off the road.’
    • ‘According to a police spokesman, the driver lost control of the vehicle after his tar-laden trailer began fishtailing.’
    • ‘The road is extremely slippery after rain and people fishtail all over it and if it doesn't rain the corrugations rattle your car apart.’