- to cause (a train, streetcar, etc.) to run off the rails of a track.
- to cause to fail or become deflected from a purpose; reduce or delay the chances for success or development of: Being drafted into the army derailed his career for two years.
- (of a train, streetcar, etc.) to run off the rails of a track.
- to become derailed; go astray.
- a track device for derailing rolling stock in an emergency.
Origin of derail
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for derail
Even a delay in appointments can derail ongoing investigations and regulatory efforts.
Is he rejecting her, or rejecting her cautionary tale—unable to derail his destiny?All the Signs That Don Draper Will Die on ‘Mad Men’
April 14, 2014
But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.Full Text of President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address
January 29, 2014
Used optimally, carbs can enhance your fitness regimen—not derail it!Carbs 101: The Truth About Carbohydrates
January 17, 2014
Violence, the White House worried, could derail civil rights legislation on Capitol Hill.“So Much Hope”: A Reporter Remembers the March on Washington
August 27, 2013
I had no dynamite with me, and I could neither blow it up nor derail it.Three Years' War
Christiaan Rudolf de Wet
That would delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable.State of the Union Addresses of George W. Bush
George W. Bush
To add to the traveller's discomfort, the road-bed is as bad as it can be and not derail the cars constantly.Under the Southern Cross
Maturin M. Ballou
He knew for a certainty whose plantations he might traverse, and whose fences he might derail.Bayou Folk
Stopping the engine they fitted it into the track in such a way that it seemed certain to derail the Confederate engine.Brave Deeds of Union Soldiers
- to go or cause to go off the rails, as a train, tram, etc
- Also called: derailer mainly US a device designed to make rolling stock or locomotives leave the rails to avoid a collision or accident
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 derail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper