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See more synonyms for trawl on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also called trawl net. a strong fishing net for dragging along the sea bottom.
  2. Also called trawl line. a buoyed line used in sea fishing, having numerous short lines with baited hooks attached at intervals.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to fish with a net that drags along the sea bottom to catch the fish living there.
  2. to fish with a trawl line.
  3. to troll.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to catch with a trawl net or a trawl line.
  2. to drag (a trawl net).
  3. to troll.
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Origin of trawl

1475–85; < Middle Dutch tragel (noun), tragelen (v.); cognate with trail
Related formstrawl·a·ble, adjectivetrawl·a·bil·i·ty, noun
Can be confusedtrawl troll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for trawl

troll, dragnet, drag, net, line, seine

Examples from the Web for trawl

Historical Examples of trawl

  • Next they turned their attention to picking the trawl already in the water.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

  • What fry could evade the hook, the net, or the trawl of these men?

    The Book-Hunter

    John Hill Burton

  • Anyhow, he says that you are to give a hand when we shoot and when we haul the trawl.'

  • By-the-bye, how do you pass the time away before hauling the trawl?'

  • He had seen enough to realize that pulling a trawl was no sinecure.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman

    Albert Walter Tolman

British Dictionary definitions for trawl


noun sea fishing
  1. Also called: trawl net a large net, usually in the shape of a sock or bag, drawn at deep levels behind special boats (trawlers)
  2. Also called: trawl line a long line to which numerous shorter hooked lines are attached, suspended between buoysSee also setline, trotline
  3. the act of trawling
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  1. sea fishing to catch or try to catch (fish) with a trawl net or trawl line
  2. sea fishing (tr) to drag (a trawl net) or suspend (a trawl line)
  3. (intr foll by for) to seek or gather (something, such as information, or someone, such as a likely appointee) from a wide variety of sources
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noun, verb
  1. angling another word for troll 1
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Word Origin for trawl

C17: from Middle Dutch traghelen to drag, from Latin trāgula dragnet; see trail
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 trawl


1560s, from Dutch tragelen, from Middle Dutch traghelen "to drag," from traghel "dragnet," probably from Latin tragula "dragnet." Related: Trawled; trawling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper