View synonyms for train


[ treyn ]


  1. Railroads. a self-propelled, connected group of rolling stock.
  2. a line or procession of persons, vehicles, animals, etc., traveling together.
  3. Military. an aggregation of vehicles, animals, and personnel accompanying an army to carry supplies, baggage, ammunition, etc.

    Synonyms: convoy

  4. a series or row of objects or parts.
  5. Machinery. a connected set of three or more rotating elements, usually gears, through which force is transmitted, or motion or torque changed.
  6. order, especially proper order:

    Matters were in good train.

    Synonyms: arrangement, array

  7. something that is drawn along; a trailing part.
  8. an elongated part of a skirt or robe trailing behind on the ground.
  9. a trail or stream of something from a moving object.
  10. a line or succession of persons or things following one after the other.

    Synonyms: column, file

  11. a body of followers or attendants; retinue.
  12. a series of proceedings, events, ideas, etc.
  13. the series of results or circumstances following or proceeding from an event, action, etc.; aftermath:

    Disease came in the train of war.

  14. a succession of connected ideas; a course of reasoning:

    to lose one's train of thought.

  15. Astronomy.
    1. the trace of light created by a meteor falling through the earth's atmosphere.
    2. the tail of a comet.
  16. a line of combustible material, as gunpowder, for leading fire to an explosive charge.
  17. Physics. a succession of wave fronts, oscillations, or the like.

verb (used with object)

  1. to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of (a child or other person) by discipline and instruction:

    to train an unruly boy.

  2. to make proficient by instruction and practice, as in some art, profession, or work:

    to train soldiers.

    Synonyms: school, practice, drill, exercise

  3. to make (a person) fit by proper exercise, diet, practice, etc., as for an athletic performance.
  4. to discipline and instruct (an animal), as in the performance of tasks or tricks.
  5. to treat or manipulate so as to bring into some desired form, position, direction, etc.:

    to train one's hair to stay down.

  6. Horticulture. to bring (a plant, branch, etc.) into a particular shape or position, by bending, pruning, or the like.
  7. to bring to bear on some object; point, aim, or direct, as a firearm, camera, telescope, or eye.
  8. Archaic. to entice; allure.

verb (used without object)

  1. to give the discipline and instruction, drill, practice, etc., designed to impart proficiency or efficiency.
  2. to undergo discipline and instruction, drill, etc.
  3. to get oneself into condition for an athletic performance through exercise, diet, practice, etc.
  4. to travel or go by train:

    to train to New York.


/ treɪn /


  1. tr to guide or teach (to do something), as by subjecting to various exercises or experiences

    to train a man to fight

  2. tr to control or guide towards a specific goal

    to train a plant up a wall

  3. intr to do exercises and prepare for a specific purpose

    the athlete trained for the Olympics

  4. tr to improve or curb by subjecting to discipline

    to train the mind

  5. tr 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

  1. a sequence or series, as of events, thoughts, etc

    a train of disasters

  2. a procession of people, vehicles, etc, travelling together, such as one carrying supplies of ammunition or equipment in support of a military operation
  3. a series of interacting parts through which motion is transmitted

    a train of gears

  4. a fuse or line of gunpowder to an explosive charge, etc
  5. something drawn along, such as the long back section of a dress that trails along the floor behind the wearer
  6. a retinue or suite
  7. proper order or course

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Derived Forms

  • ˈtrainless, adjective
  • ˈtrainable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • train·less adjective
  • half-trained adjective
  • min·i·train noun
  • mis·train verb
  • non·trained adjective
  • o·ver·train verb
  • pre·train verb (used with object)
  • self-trained adjective
  • sem·i·trained adjective
  • su·per·train verb
  • un·der·train verb (used with object)
  • un·der·trained adjective
  • un·trained adjective
  • well-trained adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of train1

First 1350–1400; (verb) late Middle English traynyn “to pull or drag in the rear,” from Middle French trainer, Old French tra(h)iner, from unattested Vulgar Latin tragīnāre, derivative of unrecorded tragīna “something dragged or drawn” (compare Medieval Latin tragīna “carriage”), derivative of unattested tragere “to pull,” for Latin trahere; (noun) Middle English train, traine, from 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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of train1

C14: from Old French trahiner , from Vulgar Latin tragīnāre (unattested) to draw; related to Latin trahere to drag

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Idioms and Phrases

In addition to the idiom beginning with train , also see gravy train .

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Synonym Study

See teach.

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Example Sentences

From there we took the train to Nice, France, but the French border control caught us and sent us back to Italy.

The U.S. military is finally starting to train Iraqi troops to fight ISIS in restive Anbar province.

Thankfully there were no casualties—the driver managed to stop the train immediately.

The U.S. only plans to train roughly 3,000 Iraqi troops in the first year.

“We met the smuggler in the train station; he came to speak with us about the services he provided,” Yazbek says.

It was only the engine drawing the train of cars up to the station to take the passengers away.

He went careering forward to his point, overturning and wounding; but as he speeded on, he left a train of enemies behind.

The fire along the three miles front is like the rumble of an express train running over fog signals.

We were about nine hours of fair daylight traversing 160 miles of level or descending grade, with a light passenger train.

There were only seventeen stations on the whole line, over which the first passenger train ran on Sept. 17.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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