- 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
Synonyms for trail
- (intr, adverb) to become fainter, quieter, or weakerhis voice trailed off
- 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 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.
see blaze a trail.