• synonyms


See more synonyms for rail on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation (often followed by at or against): to rail at fate.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to bring, force, etc., by railing.
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Origin of rail2

1425–75; late Middle English railen < Middle French railler to deride < Provençal ralhar to chatter < Vulgar Latin *ragulāre, derivative of Late Latin ragere to bray
Related formsrail·er, nounrail·ing·ly, adverb


See more synonyms for rail on Thesaurus.com
1. fulminate, inveigh, castigate, rant, revile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for railers

Historical Examples

  • Scolds and railers were set on a ducking-stool and dipped over head and ears three times, in running water, if possible.

    Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XII. September, 1863, No. LXXI.


  • Stop the mouths of the railers; and suffer your old friends, upon the old terms, again to honour and admire you.

  • Running at the top of their speed the railers came to Ben, telling how the Parson had put them to shame.

    My Neighbors

    Caradoc Evans

  • In a word, it seems to me that all the writers are on one side, and all the railers on the other.

British Dictionary definitions for railers


  1. a horizontal bar of wood, metal, etc, supported by vertical posts, functioning as a fence, barrier, handrail, etc
  2. a horizontal bar fixed to a wall on which to hang thingsa picture rail
  3. a horizontal framing member in a door or piece of panellingCompare stile 2
  4. short for railing
  5. one of a pair of parallel bars laid on a prepared track, roadway, etc, that serve as a guide and running surface for the wheels of a railway train, tramcar, etc
    1. short for railway
    2. (as modifier)rail transport
  6. nautical a trim for finishing the top of a bulwark
  7. off the rails
    1. into or in a state of dysfunction or disorder
    2. eccentric or mad
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verb (tr)
  1. to provide with a rail or railings
  2. (usually foll by in or off) to fence (an area) with rails
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Derived Formsrailless, adjective

Word Origin

C13: from Old French raille rod, from Latin rēgula ruler, straight piece of wood


  1. (intr ; foll by at or against) to complain bitterly or vehementlyto rail against fate
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Derived Formsrailer, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French railler to mock, from Old Provençal ralhar to chatter, joke, from Late Latin ragere to yell, neigh


  1. any of various small wading birds of the genus Rallus and related genera: family Rallidae, order Gruiformes (cranes, etc). They have short wings, long legs, and dark plumage
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French raale, perhaps from Latin rādere to scrape
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 railers



"horizontal bar passing from one post or support to another," c.1300, from Old French reille "bolt, bar," from Vulgar Latin *regla, from Latin regula "straight stick," diminutive form related to regere "to straighten, guide" (see regal). Used figuratively for thinness from 1872. To be off the rails in a figurative sense is from 1848, an image from the railroads. In U.S. use, "A piece of timber, cleft, hewed, or sawed, inserted in upright posts for fencing" [Webster, 1830].

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"small wading bird," mid-15c., from Old French raale (13c.), related to râler "to rattle," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative of its cry.

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"complain," mid-15c., from Middle French railler "to tease or joke" (15c.), perhaps from Old Provençal ralhar "scoff, to chat, to joke," from Vulgar Latin *ragulare "to bray" (cf. Italian ragghiare "to bray"), from Late Latin ragere "to roar," probably of imitative origin. See rally (v.2). Related: Railed; railing.

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"fence in with rails," late 14c., from rail (n.1). Related: Railed; railing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with railers


see off the rails; thin as a rail; third rail.

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