[ trol-ee ]
See synonyms for trolley on
noun,plural trol·leys.
  1. a pulley or truck traveling on an overhead track and serving to support and move a suspended object.

  1. a grooved metallic wheel or pulley carried on the end of a pole (trolley pole ) by an electric car or locomotive, and held in contact with an overhead conductor, usually a suspended wire (trolley wire ), from which it collects the current for the propulsion of the car or locomotive.

  2. any of various devices for collecting current for such a purpose, as a pantograph, or a bowlike structure (bow trolley ) sliding along an overhead wire, or a device (underground trolley ) for taking current from the underground wire or conductor used by some electric railways.

  3. a small truck or car operated on a track, as in a mine or factory.

  4. a serving cart, as one used to serve desserts.

  5. Chiefly British. any of various low carts or vehicles, as a railway handcar or costermonger's cart.

verb (used with or without object),trol·leyed, trol·ley·ing.
  1. to convey or go by trolley.

Idioms about trolley

  1. off one's trolley, Slang.

    • in a confused mental state.

    • insane: He's been off his trolley for years, but his family refuses to have him committed.

Origin of trolley

First recorded in 1815–25; originally dialect; apparently akin to troll1
  • Sometimes trol·ly .

Words Nearby trolley Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use trolley in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trolley


/ (ˈtrɒlɪ) /

  1. British a small table on casters used for conveying food, drink, etc

  2. British a wheeled cart or stand pushed by hand and used for moving heavy items, such as shopping in a supermarket or luggage at a railway station

  1. British (in a hospital) a bed mounted on casters and used for moving patients who are unconscious, immobilized, etc

  2. British See trolleybus

  3. US and Canadian See trolley car

  4. a device that collects the current from an overhead wire (trolley wire), third rail, etc, to drive the motor of an electric vehicle

  5. a pulley or truck that travels along an overhead wire in order to support a suspended load

  6. mainly British a low truck running on rails, used in factories, mines, etc, and on railways

  7. a truck, cage, or basket suspended from an overhead track or cable for carrying loads in a mine, quarry, etc

  8. off one's trolley slang

    • mentally confused or disorganized

    • insane

  1. (tr) to transport (a person or object) on a trolley

Origin of trolley

C19: probably from troll 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with trolley


see off one's head (trolley).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.