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[reyl-rohd] /ˈreɪlˌroʊd/
a permanent road laid with rails, commonly in one or more pairs of continuous lines forming a track or tracks, on which locomotives and cars are run for the transportation of passengers, freight, and mail.
an entire system of such roads together with its rolling stock, buildings, etc.; the entire railway plant, including fixed and movable property.
the company of persons owning or operating such a plant.
Bowling. a split.
railroads, stocks or bonds of railroad companies.
verb (used with object)
to transport by means of a railroad.
to supply with railroads.
Informal. to push (a law or bill) hastily through a legislature so that there is not time enough for objections to be considered.
Informal. to convict (a person) in a hasty manner by means of false charges or insufficient evidence:
The prisoner insisted he had been railroaded.
verb (used without object)
to work on a railroad.
Origin of railroad
1750-60; 1875-85 for def 9; rail1 + road
Related forms
nonrailroad, adjective
prerailroad, adjective
prorailroad, adjective
unrailroaded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for railroaded
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One had been blackmailed by an actress after an affair and railroaded her off the Earth.

    The Adventurer Cyril M. Kornbluth
  • At last we were marched and railroaded back to Philadelphia.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • I staked everything I had on them, and then they railroaded me out of the county.

    Cavanagh: Forest Ranger Hamlin Garland
  • If there is no other way, I must be railroaded in in an official capacity.

    The Locusts' Years Mary Helen Fee
  • Was James Rowan the aggressor when he was railroaded out of town and beaten?

    The Everett massacre Walker C. Smith
  • We understood that you'd been railroaded out of the country.

  • I "railroaded" day and night, and I passed him; then turn about he passed me.

    The Road

    Jack London
  • railroaded through school and college, as he was, his tuition was necessarily defective in some important particulars.

    The Brothers' War John Calvin Reed
British Dictionary definitions for railroaded


the usual US word for railway
(transitive) (informal) to force (a person) into (an action) with haste or by unfair means
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 railroaded



1757, from rail (n.1) + road. Originally "road laid with rails for heavy wagons (in mining)." The process itself (but not the word) seems to have been in use by late 17c. Application to passenger and freight trains dates from 1825, though tending to be replaced in this sense in England by railway.



"to convict quickly and perhaps unjustly," 1873, American English, from railroad (n.).

A person knowing more than might be desirable of the affairs, or perhaps the previous life of some powerful individual, high in authority, might some day ventilate his knowledge, possibly before a court of justice; but if his wisdom is railroaded to State's prison, his evidence becomes harmless. ["Wanderings of a Vagabond," New York, 1873]
Related: Railroaded; railroading. An earlier verb sense was "to have a mania for building railroads" (1847).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for railroaded



  1. To convict and imprison someone very rapidly, perhaps unjustly or illegally: The prisoner is railroaded to jail
  2. To force a resolution of something quickly, perhaps without due process: if all cases were railroaded through that quick (1884+)

Related Terms

a hell of a way to run a railroad

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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