verb (used without object)
to swerve or skid from side to side, as the rear end of a car.
to slow an airplane by causing its tail to move rapidly from side to side.
such a maneuver.
a gas burner having two jets crossing each other so as to produce a flame resembling a fish's tail.
a device having a long, narrow slot at the top, placed over a gas jet, as of a Bunsen burner, to give a thin, fanlike flame.
Jewelry. a setting consisting of four prominent triangular corner prongs to hold the stone.

1400–50; late Middle English. See fish, tail1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fishtail (ˈfɪʃˌteɪl)
1.  an aeroplane manoeuvre in which the tail is moved from side to side to reduce speed
2.  a nozzle having a long narrow slot at the top, placed over a Bunsen burner to produce a thin fanlike flame
3.  to slow an aeroplane by moving the tail from side to side
4.  to drive with the rear of the vehicle moving from side to side in an uncontrolled fashion

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
The abrupt maneuver causes the back end of your car to fishtail, and you lose control.
He was using an air ratchet to tighten the fourth fishtail when the stud holding the first fishtail broke free.
Too little tongue weight will cause the trailer to fishtail.
Others fishtail off the highway or into another car.
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