- to drag or let drag along the ground or other surface; draw or drag along behind.
- to bring or have floating after itself or oneself: a racing car trailing clouds of dust.
- to follow the track, trail, or scent of; track.
- to follow along behind (another), as in a race.
- to mark out, as a track.
- to tread down or make a path through (grass or the like).
- to draw out, as speech; protract.
- Ceramics. to pour (slip) on a biscuit so as to produce a pattern.
- to be drawn or dragged along the ground or some other surface, as when hanging from something moving: Her long bridal gown trailed across the floor.
- to hang down loosely from something.
- to stream from or float after something moving, as dust, smoke, and sparks do.
- to follow as if drawn along.
- to fish by trailing a line from a moving boat; troll.
- to go slowly, lazily, or wearily along.
- to pass or extend in a straggling line.
- to change gradually or wander from a course, so as to become weak, ineffectual, etc. (usually followed by off or away): Her voice trailed off into silence.
- to arrive or be last: He finally trailed in at 10 o'clock.
- to be losing in a contest: The home team was trailing 20 to 15.
- to creep or crawl, as a serpent.
- to follow a track or scent, as of game.
- (of a plant) to extend itself in growth along the ground rather than taking root or clinging by tendrils, etc.
- a path or track made across a wild region, over rough country, or the like, by the passage of people or animals.
- the track, scent, or the like, left by an animal, person, or thing, especially as followed by a hunter, hound, or other pursuer.
- something that is trailed or that trails behind, as the train of a skirt or robe.
- a stream of dust, smoke, light, people, vehicles, etc., behind something moving.
- Artillery. the part of a gun carriage that rests on the ground when the piece is unlimbered.
- Architecture. a running vine, leaf, or tendril ornament, as in a Gothic molding.
- trail arms, Military.
- to hold a rifle in the right hand at an oblique angle, with the muzzle forward and the butt a few inches off the ground.
- a command to trail arms.
Origin of trail
SynonymsSee more synonyms for trail on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for trail
To break her self-destructive cycle and heal, she decides to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail solo.Exclusive: The Making of Reese Witherspoon’s Golden Globe-Nominated ‘Wild’
December 12, 2014
Mothers pushed their children's heads down and they sped through town, leaving a trail of machine-gun shells in their wake.‘Argo’ in the Congo: The Ghosts of the Stanleyville Hostage Crisis
November 23, 2014
One seemed particularly promising, by a trail with a big pile of natural brush to furnish a screen.Knowing Where the Bodies Are Buried: An Excerpt From 'Lives in Ruins'
November 14, 2014
Instead, that trail seems to lead to another Spinal Solutions contractor, Ryan Zavilenski.Patients Screwed in Spine Surgery ‘Scam’
The Center for Investigative Reporting
November 3, 2014
The band has not only blazed a trail for free-media artists, but they also had a blast in the process.Viral Video Pioneers: How Pomplamoose is Turning YouTube Stardom Into a Sustainable Profession
October 27, 2014
After all, it was not a simple thing to put Bill Dozier off the trail.
You're a proud man; you've never quit a trail yet before the end of it.
When he got on my trail he knew that I was just a scared kid who thought he'd killed a man.
At least, they would go with caution down his trail after that first check.
But, speakin' personal, this trail looks more and more interestin' to me.
- to drag or stream, or permit to drag or stream along a surface, esp the groundher skirt trailed; she trailed her skipping rope
- to make (a track or path) through (a place)to trail a way; to trail a jungle
- to chase, follow, or hunt (an animal or person) by following marks or tracks
- (when intr, often foll by behind) to lag or linger behind (a person or thing)
- (intr) (esp of plants) to extend or droop over or along a surface
- (intr) to be falling behind in a race or competitionthe favourite is trailing at the last fence
- (tr) to tow (a boat, caravan, etc) behind a motor vehicle
- (tr) to carry (a rifle) at the full length of the right arm in a horizontal position, with the muzzle to the fore
- (intr) to move wearily or slowlywe trailed through the city
- (tr) (on television or radio) to advertise (a future programme) with short extracts
- trail one's coat to invite a quarrel by deliberately provocative behaviour
- a print, mark, or marks made by a person, animal, or object
- the act or an instance of trailing
- the scent left by a moving person or animal that is followed by a hunting animal
- a path, track, or road, esp one roughly blazed
- something that trails behind or trails in loops or strands
- the part of a towed gun carriage and limber that connects the two when in movement and rests on the ground as a partial support when unlimbered
- engineering the distance between the point of contact of a steerable wheel and a line drawn from the swivel pin axis to the ground
- (on television or radio) an advertisement for a future programme
Word Origin and History for trail
c.1300, "to hang down loosely and flow behind," from Old French trailler "to tow," ultimately from Vulgar Latin *tragulare "to drag," from Latin tragula "dragnet," probably related to trahere "to pull" (see tract (n.1)). The meaning "follow the trail of" (an animal, etc.) is first recorded late 14c. Related: Trailed; trailing.
early 14c., "trailing part of a robe, gown, etc.," from the source of trail (v.). The meaning "track or smell left by a person or animal" is also from 1580s. Meaning "path or track worn in wilderness" is attested from 1807.
Idioms and Phrases with trail
see blaze a trail.