from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A bar extending horizontally between supports, as in a fence.
  • noun A structure made of such bars and supports and forming a barrier or guard; a railing.
  • noun A steel bar used, usually in pairs, as a track for railroad cars or other wheeled vehicles.
  • noun Sports A grind rail.
  • noun The railroad as a means of transportation.
  • noun A horizontal framing member in a door or in paneling.
  • transitive verb To supply or enclose with rails or a rail.
  • noun Any of various marsh birds of the family Rallidae, found worldwide and characteristically having brownish plumage and short wings.
  • intransitive verb To express objections or criticisms in bitter, harsh, or abusive language. synonym: scold.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To range in a line; set in order.
  • To dress; clothe.
  • noun A garment; dress; robe: now only in the compound night-rail.
  • noun A kerchief.
  • To inclose with rails: often with in or off.
  • To furnish with rails; lay the rails of, as a railway; construct a railway upon or along, as a street.
  • To fish with a hand-line over the rail of a ship or boat.
  • noun A bird of the subfamily Rallinæ, and especially of the genus Rallus; a water-rail, land-rail, marsh-hen, or crake.
  • To run; flow.
  • To speak bitterly, opprobriously, or reproachfully; use acrimonious expressions; scoff; inveigh.
  • Synonyms of rail at. To upbraid, scold or scold at or scold about, inveigh against, abuse, objurgate. Railing and scolding are always undignified, if not improper; literally, abusing is improper; all three words may by hyperbole be used for talk which is proper.
  • To scoff at; taunt; scold; banter; affect by railing or raillery.
  • noun A bar of wood or other material passing from one post or other support to another.
  • noun A structure consisting of rails and their sustaining posts, balusters, or pillars, and constituting an inclosure or line of division: often used in the plural, and also called a railing.
  • noun In joinery, a horizontal timber in a piece of framing or paneling.
  • noun Nautical, one of several bars or timbers in a ship, serving for inclosure or support.
  • noun One of the iron or (now generally) steel bars or beams used on the permanent way of a railway to support and guide the wheels of cars and motors.
  • noun The railway or railroad as a means of transport: as, to travel or send goods by railroading
  • noun In cotton-spinning, a bar having an up-and-down motion, by which yarn passing through is guided upon the bar and is distributed upon the bobbins.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An outer cloak or covering; a neckerchief for women.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To flow forth; to roll out; to course.
  • transitive verb To inclose with rails or a railing.
  • transitive verb obsolete To range in a line.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of limicoline birds of the family Rallidæ, especially those of the genus Rallus, and of closely allied genera. They are prized as game birds.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the corncrake.
  • intransitive verb To use insolent and reproachful language; to utter reproaches; to scoff; -- followed by at or against, formerly by on.
  • transitive verb obsolete To rail at.
  • transitive verb rare To move or influence by railing.
  • noun A bar of timber or metal, usually horizontal or nearly so, extending from one post or support to another, as in fences, balustrades, staircases, etc.
  • noun (Arch.) A horizontal piece in a frame or paneling. See Illust. of Style.
  • noun (Railroad) A bar of steel or iron, forming part of the track on which the wheels roll. It is usually shaped with reference to vertical strength, and is held in place by chairs, splices, etc.
  • noun The stout, narrow plank that forms the top of the bulwarks.
  • noun The light, fencelike structures of wood or metal at the break of the deck, and elsewhere where such protection is needed.
  • noun A railroad as a means of transportation.
  • noun a railing.
  • noun See under Fence.
  • noun A guard rail. See under Guard.
  • noun (Railroad) a splice connecting the adjacent ends of rails, in distinction from a chair, which is merely a seat. The two devices are sometimes united. Among several hundred varieties, the fish joint is standard. See Fish joint, under Fish.
  • noun (Iron & Steel Manuf.) a train of rolls in a rolling mill, for making rails for railroads from blooms or billets.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English raile, from Old French reille, from Latin rēgula, straight piece of wood, ruler; see reg- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English raile, from Old French raale, perhaps from Old French raler, racler, to scrape, from Old Provençal rasclar; see raclette.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English railen, from Old French railler, to tease, joke, from Old Provençal ralhar, to chat, joke, from Vulgar Latin *ragulāre, to bray, from Late Latin ragere.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French râle, Old French rasle. Compare Medieval Latin rallus. Named from its harsh cry, Vulgar Latin rasculum, from Latin radere, to scrape.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Anglo-Norman raier, Middle French raier.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French reille, Latin regula ("rule, bar"), from regere ("to rule, to guide, to govern"); see regular.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English hræġl.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French railler.


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  • Also means

    1. to flow forth

    2. to roll out

    3. to course.

    April 21, 2008