One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a variety of goldfish having a rounded body, a long, divided, trailing tail (caudal fin), and a large dorsal fin; a fish of this variety. In later use also: a large-tailed variety of any of several other aquarium fishes; a fish of such a variety.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Nature: a weekly journal of science. From veil + tail.
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