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trolley

or trol·ly

[trol-ee]
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noun, plural trol·leys.
  1. trolley car.
  2. a pulley or truck traveling on an overhead track and serving to support and move a suspended object.
  3. a grooved metallic wheel or pulley carried on the end of a pole (trolley pole) by an electric car or locomotive, and held in contact with an overhead conductor, usually a suspended wire (trolley wire), from which it collects the current for the propulsion of the car or locomotive.
  4. any of various devices for collecting current for such a purpose, as a pantograph, or a bowlike structure (bow trolley) sliding along an overhead wire, or a device (underground trolley) for taking current from the underground wire or conductor used by some electric railways.
  5. a small truck or car operated on a track, as in a mine or factory.
  6. a serving cart, as one used to serve desserts.
  7. Chiefly British. any of various low carts or vehicles, as a railway handcar or costermonger's cart.
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verb (used with or without object), trol·leyed, trol·ley·ing.
  1. to convey or go by trolley.
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Idioms
  1. off one's trolley, Slang.
    1. in a confused mental state.
    2. insane: He's been off his trolley for years, but his family refuses to have him committed.
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Origin of trolley

First recorded in 1815–25; orig. dial.; apparently akin to troll1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for trolley

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I brought her out here for a trolley ride and a picnic luncheon.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Halfway to the trolley line, the dog turned off into a by-road.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • If you can get off for an hour, won't you take the trolley to the end of Division Street?

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Large deals, of which the Trolley Combine was but one, were on foot.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Not for my attitude in the Trolley matter, nor for what I published in the Planet.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for trolley

trolley

noun
  1. British a small table on casters used for conveying food, drink, etc
  2. British a wheeled cart or stand pushed by hand and used for moving heavy items, such as shopping in a supermarket or luggage at a railway station
  3. British (in a hospital) a bed mounted on casters and used for moving patients who are unconscious, immobilized, etc
  4. British See trolleybus
  5. US and Canadian See trolley car
  6. a device that collects the current from an overhead wire (trolley wire), third rail, etc, to drive the motor of an electric vehicle
  7. a pulley or truck that travels along an overhead wire in order to support a suspended load
  8. mainly British a low truck running on rails, used in factories, mines, etc, and on railways
  9. a truck, cage, or basket suspended from an overhead track or cable for carrying loads in a mine, quarry, etc
  10. off one's trolley slang
    1. mentally confused or disorganized
    2. insane
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verb
  1. (tr) to transport (a person or object) on a trolley
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See also trolleys

Word Origin

C19: probably from troll 1
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

Word Origin and History for trolley

n.

1823, in Suffolk dialect, "a cart," especially one with wheels flanged for running on a track (1858), probably from troll (v.) in the sense of "to roll." Sense transferred to "pulley to convey current to a streetcar motor" (1890), then "streetcar drawing power by a trolley" (1891).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with trolley

trolley

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.