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[treyn] /treɪn/
Railroads. a self-propelled, connected group of rolling stock.
a line or procession of persons, vehicles, animals, etc., traveling together.
Military. an aggregation of vehicles, animals, and personnel accompanying an army to carry supplies, baggage, ammunition, etc.
a series or row of objects or parts.
Machinery. a connected set of three or more rotating elements, usually gears, through which force is transmitted, or motion or torque changed.
order, especially proper order:
Matters were in good train.
something that is drawn along; a trailing part.
an elongated part of a skirt or robe trailing behind on the ground.
a trail or stream of something from a moving object.
a line or succession of persons or things following one after the other.
a body of followers or attendants; retinue.
a series of proceedings, events, ideas, etc.
the series of results or circumstances following or proceeding from an event, action, etc.; aftermath:
Disease came in the train of war.
a succession of connected ideas; a course of reasoning:
to lose one's train of thought.
  1. the trace of light created by a meteor falling through the earth's atmosphere.
  2. the tail of a comet.
a line of combustible material, as gunpowder, for leading fire to an explosive charge.
Physics. a succession of wave fronts, oscillations, or the like.
verb (used with object)
to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction:
to train an unruly boy.
to make proficient by instruction and practice, as in some art, profession, or work:
to train soldiers.
to make (a person) fit by proper exercise, diet, practice, etc., as for an athletic performance.
to discipline and instruct (an animal), as in the performance of tasks or tricks.
to treat or manipulate so as to bring into some desired form, position, direction, etc.:
to train one's hair to stay down.
Horticulture. to bring (a plant, branch, etc.) into a particular shape or position, by bending, pruning, or the like.
to bring to bear on some object; point, aim, or direct, as a firearm, camera, telescope, or eye.
to entice; allure.
verb (used without object)
to give the discipline and instruction, drill, practice, etc., designed to impart proficiency or efficiency.
to undergo discipline and instruction, drill, etc.
to get oneself into condition for an athletic performance through exercise, diet, practice, etc.
to travel or go by train:
to train to New York.
Origin of train
1350-1400; (v.) late Middle English traynyn to pull or drag in the rear < Middle French trainer, Old French tra(h)iner < Vulgar Latin *tragīnāre, derivative of *tragīna something dragged or drawn (compare Medieval Latin tragīna carriage), derivative of *tragere to pull, for Latin trahere; (noun) Middle English train, traine < Old French tra(h)in (masculine) series of people, animals, or things, tra(h)ine (feminine) something dragged behind, both derivative of tra(h)iner
Related forms
trainless, adjective
half-trained, adjective
minitrain, noun
mistrain, verb
nontrained, adjective
overtrain, verb
pretrain, verb (used with object)
self-trained, adjective
semitrained, adjective
supertrain, verb
undertrain, verb (used with object)
undertrained, adjective
untrained, adjective
well-trained, adjective
3. convoy. 6. array, arrangement. 10. file, column. 19. exercise, drill, practice, school.
Synonym Study
18, 19. See teach. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for train
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They walked rapidly to the station, but too late, of course, for the train.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • The lawyer left them at the next station to wait for a train back to Butte.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • As the train started he swung himself off with a sad little "Be good to yourself!"

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • And now, as the train took her swiftly to her fate, she made the best of it.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • He is to be taken to the depot, to go to Virginia in the first train.

British Dictionary definitions for train


(transitive) to guide or teach (to do something), as by subjecting to various exercises or experiences: to train a man to fight
(transitive) to control or guide towards a specific goal: to train a plant up a wall
(intransitive) to do exercises and prepare for a specific purpose: the athlete trained for the Olympics
(transitive) to improve or curb by subjecting to discipline: to train the mind
(transitive) to focus or bring to bear (on something): to train a telescope on the moon
  1. a line of coaches or wagons coupled together and drawn by a railway locomotive
  2. (as modifier): a train ferry
a sequence or series, as of events, thoughts, etc: a train of disasters
a procession of people, vehicles, etc, travelling together, such as one carrying supplies of ammunition or equipment in support of a military operation
a series of interacting parts through which motion is transmitted: a train of gears
a fuse or line of gunpowder to an explosive charge, etc
something drawn along, such as the long back section of a dress that trails along the floor behind the wearer
a retinue or suite
proper order or course
Derived Forms
trainable, adjective
trainless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French trahiner, from Vulgar Latin tragīnāre (unattested) to draw; related to Latin trahere to drag
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 train

early 14c., "a drawing out, delay," later "trailing part of a skirt" (mid-15c.), also "retinue, procession" (mid-15c.), from Old French train (fem. traine), from trainer "to pull, draw," from Vulgar Latin *traginare, extended from *tragere "to pull," back-formation from tractus, past participle of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Train of thought first attested 1650s. The railroad sense is recorded from 1820 (publication year, dated 1816), from notion of a "train" of wagons or carriages pulled by a mechanical engine.


"instruct, discipline, teach," 1540s, probably from earlier sense of "draw out and manipulate in order to bring to a desired form" (late 14c.), specifically of the growth of branches, vines, etc. from mid-15c.; from train (n.). The meaning "to travel by railway" is recorded from 1856. Related: Trained; training.

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



: popularly known as gang bangs or trains


To do the sex act on a woman serially, man after man, in a gang; gangbang: announced that they were going to train her (1970s+)

Related Terms

the gravy train, on the gravy train, pull a train, ride the gravy train

[related to pull a train; perhaps influenced by earlier train, ''romp, carry on wildly'']

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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Idioms and Phrases with train


In addition to the idiom beginning with train also see: gravy train
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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