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swallowtail

[swol-oh-teyl] /ˈswɒl oʊˌteɪl/
noun
1.
the tail of a swallow or a deeply forked tail like that of a swallow.
2.
any of several butterflies of the genus Papilio, characterized by elongated hind wings that resemble the tail of a swallow, as P. polyxenes (black swallowtail)
3.
Origin of swallowtail
1535-1545
1535-45; swallow2 + tail1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swallowtail
Historical Examples
  • The sight of one swallowtail butterfly, a big black and yellow fellow, sent the cook insane.

    The Sea and the Jungle H. M. Tomlinson
  • Old swallowtail reached the stone-yard and climbed the fence.

    Mary Louise in the Country L. Frank Baum (AKA Edith Van Dyne)
  • We calculate to do it, only we want you to go as slow on swallowtail coats as possible till we can sell our hay.

    Remarks Bill Nye
  • The Red Star line followed in 1821, and soon after the swallowtail line.

    Fifth Avenue Arthur Bartlett Maurice
  • I aint in a swallowtail coat, but every one knows me, and they know that Ive been up in the roof tryin to stop a leak.

  • To the left at one tip of the crescent the flash of swallowtail Light glowed and died like the fire in a gigantic cigarette.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • One, called the swallowtail, may often be found hiding among ivy in July.

  • They are all getting good pay, so they sent to the States for swallowtail suits an they started.

  • Once swallowtail was passed the voyage had begun, and the lead belonged to any one who could take it.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • He was past the middle age, somewhat scrupulously dressed in the old fashion, in swallowtail coat and black stock.

    The Crisis, Complete Winston Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for swallowtail

swallowtail

/ˈswɒləʊˌteɪl/
noun
1.
any of various butterflies of the genus Papilio and related genera, esp P. machaon of Europe, having a tail-like extension of each hind wing: family Papilionidae
2.
the forked tail of a swallow or similar bird
3.
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swallowtail

1540s, of a type of arrowhead, from swallow (n.) + tail (n.). Of a type of butterfly, by 1776; of a type of coat, 1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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