See more synonyms for railroad on Thesaurus.com
  1. a permanent road laid with rails, commonly in one or more pairs of continuous lines forming a track or tracks, on which locomotives and cars are run for the transportation of passengers, freight, and mail.
  2. an entire system of such roads together with its rolling stock, buildings, etc.; the entire railway plant, including fixed and movable property.
  3. the company of persons owning or operating such a plant.
  4. Bowling. a split.
  5. railroads, stocks or bonds of railroad companies.
verb (used with object)
  1. to transport by means of a railroad.
  2. to supply with railroads.
  3. Informal. to push (a law or bill) hastily through a legislature so that there is not time enough for objections to be considered.
  4. Informal. to convict (a person) in a hasty manner by means of false charges or insufficient evidence: The prisoner insisted he had been railroaded.
verb (used without object)
  1. to work on a railroad.

Origin of railroad

1750–60; 1875–85 for def 9; rail1 + road
Related formsnon·rail·road, adjectivepre·rail·road, adjectivepro·rail·road, adjectiveun·rail·road·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for railroaded

Contemporary Examples of railroaded

  • So they applied more pressure and…they kind of railroaded me and made up some kinds of charges against me, and softly fired me.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Reality Behind Up in the Air

    Nicole LaPorte

    January 31, 2010

  • Cries are now heard round the world that Amanda Knox was railroaded.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Amanda Knox's Escape Chances

    Gerald L. Shargel

    December 11, 2009

Historical Examples of railroaded

  • One had been blackmailed by an actress after an affair and railroaded her off the Earth.

    The Adventurer

    Cyril M. Kornbluth

  • At last we were marched and railroaded back to Philadelphia.


    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • I staked everything I had on them, and then they railroaded me out of the county.

  • If there is no other way, I must be railroaded in in an official capacity.

    The Locusts' Years

    Mary Helen Fee

  • Was James Rowan the aggressor when he was railroaded out of town and beaten?

    The Everett massacre

    Walker C. Smith

British Dictionary definitions for railroaded


  1. the usual US word for railway
  1. (tr) informal to force (a person) into (an action) with haste or by unfair means
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 railroaded



1757, from rail (n.1) + road. Originally "road laid with rails for heavy wagons (in mining)." The process itself (but not the word) seems to have been in use by late 17c. Application to passenger and freight trains dates from 1825, though tending to be replaced in this sense in England by railway.



"to convict quickly and perhaps unjustly," 1873, American English, from railroad (n.).

A person knowing more than might be desirable of the affairs, or perhaps the previous life of some powerful individual, high in authority, might some day ventilate his knowledge, possibly before a court of justice; but if his wisdom is railroaded to State's prison, his evidence becomes harmless. ["Wanderings of a Vagabond," New York, 1873]

Related: Railroaded; railroading. An earlier verb sense was "to have a mania for building railroads" (1847).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper