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trail

[treyl]
See more synonyms for trail on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to drag or let drag along the ground or other surface; draw or drag along behind.
  2. to bring or have floating after itself or oneself: a racing car trailing clouds of dust.
  3. to follow the track, trail, or scent of; track.
  4. to follow along behind (another), as in a race.
  5. to mark out, as a track.
  6. to tread down or make a path through (grass or the like).
  7. to draw out, as speech; protract.
  8. Ceramics. to pour (slip) on a biscuit so as to produce a pattern.
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verb (used without object)
  1. 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.
  2. to hang down loosely from something.
  3. to stream from or float after something moving, as dust, smoke, and sparks do.
  4. to follow as if drawn along.
  5. to fish by trailing a line from a moving boat; troll.
  6. to go slowly, lazily, or wearily along.
  7. to pass or extend in a straggling line.
  8. 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.
  9. to arrive or be last: He finally trailed in at 10 o'clock.
  10. to be losing in a contest: The home team was trailing 20 to 15.
  11. to creep or crawl, as a serpent.
  12. to follow a track or scent, as of game.
  13. (of a plant) to extend itself in growth along the ground rather than taking root or clinging by tendrils, etc.
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noun
  1. a path or track made across a wild region, over rough country, or the like, by the passage of people or animals.
  2. the track, scent, or the like, left by an animal, person, or thing, especially as followed by a hunter, hound, or other pursuer.
  3. something that is trailed or that trails behind, as the train of a skirt or robe.
  4. a stream of dust, smoke, light, people, vehicles, etc., behind something moving.
  5. Artillery. the part of a gun carriage that rests on the ground when the piece is unlimbered.
  6. Architecture. a running vine, leaf, or tendril ornament, as in a Gothic molding.
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Idioms
  1. trail arms, Military.
    1. 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.
    2. a command to trail arms.
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Origin of trail

1275–1325; Middle English trailen to draw or drag in the rear; compare Old English træglian to tear off; cognate with Middle Dutch traghelen to drag; akin to Latvian dragât to tear off, drag
Related formstrail·ing·ly, adverbtrail·less, adjectivenon·trail·ing, adjectiveun·trailed, adjectiveun·trail·ing, adjective
Can be confusedtrail trial (see synonym study at trial)

Synonyms

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3. trace, hunt. 16. diminish, shrink, dwindle. 22. See path. 23. spoor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

falterpulllagchasedragglestreamtarrydogdawdleprocrastinatetraipsetracedangletowdelayplodtaillingerdrawhalt

Examples from the Web for trailed

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The Leopard Woman, not knowing what else to do, trailed after him.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Behind him trailed the Winchester regiment, now reorganized and mounted.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • "I guess I trailed it through some o' the drifts," he remarked.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Either of them on a road could have trailed us, step for step, and as long as we pleased.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • The girl must have trailed him to make sure they picked up the right man.

    Satellite System

    Horace Brown Fyfe


British Dictionary definitions for trailed

trail

verb
  1. to drag or stream, or permit to drag or stream along a surface, esp the groundher skirt trailed; she trailed her skipping rope
  2. to make (a track or path) through (a place)to trail a way; to trail a jungle
  3. to chase, follow, or hunt (an animal or person) by following marks or tracks
  4. (when intr, often foll by behind) to lag or linger behind (a person or thing)
  5. (intr) (esp of plants) to extend or droop over or along a surface
  6. (intr) to be falling behind in a race or competitionthe favourite is trailing at the last fence
  7. (tr) to tow (a boat, caravan, etc) behind a motor vehicle
  8. (tr) to carry (a rifle) at the full length of the right arm in a horizontal position, with the muzzle to the fore
  9. (intr) to move wearily or slowlywe trailed through the city
  10. (tr) (on television or radio) to advertise (a future programme) with short extracts
  11. trail one's coat to invite a quarrel by deliberately provocative behaviour
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noun
  1. a print, mark, or marks made by a person, animal, or object
  2. the act or an instance of trailing
  3. the scent left by a moving person or animal that is followed by a hunting animal
  4. a path, track, or road, esp one roughly blazed
  5. something that trails behind or trails in loops or strands
  6. 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
  7. engineering the distance between the point of contact of a steerable wheel and a line drawn from the swivel pin axis to the ground
  8. (on television or radio) an advertisement for a future programme
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Derived Formstrail-less, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French trailler to draw, tow, from Vulgar Latin tragulāre (unattested), from Latin trāgula dragnet, from trahere to drag; compare Middle Dutch traghelen to drag
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 trailed

trail

v.

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.

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trail

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with trailed

trail

see blaze a trail.

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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.