- a rail laid parallel and adjacent to the running rails of an electrified railroad to provide electric current to the motors of a car or locomotive through contact shoes.
- an additional running rail laid on the same ties as the two regular rails of a railroad track to provide a multigauge capability.
Origin of third rail
Words nearby third rail
How to use third rail in a sentence
The third suspect, an 18-year-old named Hamyd Mourad, who turned himself in, is part of the same extended family.
Officials have said the war to reclaim upward of a third of Iraq and a quarter of Syria from ISIS could take years.Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War|Nancy A. Youssef|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Third parties in turn quibbled with his accounts, and he was irritated, but not overly so.I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003|Vicky Ward|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The third problem is the evidence of corroborating witnesses.Buckingham Palace Disputes Sex Allegations Against Prince ‘Randy Andy’|Tom Sykes|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Murders are slightly down from 414 last year, but have fallen by about one—third since 2003.
But the Mexican caballeros had no notion of coming up to the scratch a third time.
A gentleman got out of a carriage before it stopped, and fell between the rail and the platform.Elster's Folly|Mrs. Henry Wood
The first rail road opened in Brazil, the emperor and empress being present at the inauguration.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
This was somewhat tiresome; and, after a rather feeble attempt at a third laugh, Davy said, "I don't feel like it any more."Davy and The Goblin|Charles E. Carryl
It occurred to him then, for the first time, that a third resource was open—he might cut the rope, and let the kite go free!The Giant of the North|R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for third rail
- a cause or topic that is considered extremely dangerous for a person to support or comment on
- (as modifier)a third-rail issue
Other Idioms and Phrases with third rail
Something that is dangerous to tamper with, as in Anything concerning veterans is a political third rail. This term alludes to the rail that supplies the high voltage powering an electric train, so called since 1918. On the other hand, grab hold of the third rail means “become energized.” Both shifts from the original meaning date from the late 1900s.