American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To allow to drag or stream behind, as along the ground: The dog ran off, trailing its leash.
- v. To drag (the body, for example) wearily or heavily.
- v. To follow the traces or scent of, as in hunting; track.
- v. To follow the course taken by; pursue: trail a fugitive.
- v. To follow behind: several cruisers trailed by an escorting destroyer.
- v. To lag behind (an opponent): trailed the league leader by four games.
- v. To drag or be dragged along, brushing the ground: The queen's long robe trailed behind.
- v. To extend, grow, or droop loosely over a surface: vines trailing through the garden.
- v. To drift in a thin stream: smoke trailing from a dying fire.
- v. To become gradually fainter; dwindle: His voice trailed off in confusion.
- v. To walk or proceed with dragging steps; trudge.
- v. To be behind in competition; lag: trailing by two goals in the second period.
- n. A marked or beaten path, as through woods or wilderness.
- n. An overland route: the pioneers' trail across the prairies.
- n. A mark, trace, course, or path left by a moving body.
- n. The scent of a person or animal: The dogs lost the trail of the fox.
- n. Something that is drawn along or follows behind; a train: The mayor was followed by a trail of reporters.
- n. A succession of things that come afterward or are left behind: left a trail of broken promises.
- n. Something that hangs loose and long: Trails of ticker tape floated down from office windows.
- n. The part of a gun carriage that rests or slides on the ground.
- n. The act of trailing.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A local term in southern England for confused deposits of glacial debris resting upon soft sands, clays, etc., which latter have been crumpled and squeezed by ice-pressure.
- n. unsorted glacial or related deposits containing human implements ana resting upon a preglacial surface in southern England called the ‘Palæolithic floor.’ See trail, 6.
- To fasten (as wagons) one behind the other so as to form a train.
- In casino, to play a card which neither builds nor takes in anything.
- n. A part dragged behind; something drawn after; a train; a rear appendage. Specifically— The train of a skirt or robe.
- n. A trailing part or organ; a train: as, the trail of the peacock: often used figuratively.
- n. In artillery, the lower end of the carriage; in field-artillery, that part of the carriage which reats on the ground when unlimbered. See cut under gun-carriage.
- n. Any long appendage, real or apparent, as a line or streak marking the path just passed over by a moving body: as, the trail of a meteor; a trail of smoke.
- n. In astronomy, the elongated image of a star produced upon a photographic plate, which is not made to follow the star's diurnal motion. The intensity of this trail is used as a measure of the star's brightness.
- n. The track or mark left by something dragged or drawn along the ground or over a surface: as, the trail of a snail. Specifically— The mark or scent left on the ground by anything pursued, as in hunting; the track followed by a hunter: especially in the phrase on the trail.
- n. A path or road mȧde by the passage of something, as of animals or men; a beaten path, as across the prairies, a mountain, or a desert; a rude path.
- n. Figuratively, a clue; a trace.
- n. A vehicle dragged along; a drag; a sled; a sledge.
- n. The act of playing upon, or of taking advantage of, a person's ignorance. See trail, verb, 6.
- n. Synonyms Path, Track, etc. See way.
- To draw along behind.
- To drag or draw loosely along the ground or other surface, as the train of a woman's dress.
- Milit., to carry in an oblique forward position, with the breech or the butt near the ground, the piece or the pike being held by the right hand near the middle: as, to trail arms.
- To beat down or make a beaten path through by frequent treading; make a beaten path through: as, to trail grass.
- To hunt or follow up by the track or scent; follow in the trail or tracks of; track.
- To draw out; lead on, especially in a mischievous or ill-natured way; play upon the ignorance or fears of.
- To hang down or drag loosely behind, as the train of a woman's dress.
- To grow loosely and without self-support to a considerable length along the ground or over bushes, rocks, or other low objects; recline or droop and as it were drag upon the ground, as a branch. See trailing plant, below.
- To move with a slow sweeping motion.
- To loiter or creep along as a straggler or a person who is nearly tired out; walk or make one's way idly or lazily.
- To reach or extend in a straggling way.
- To fish with or from a trailer: as, to trail for mackerel.
- n. A latticed frame; a trellis for running or climbing plants.
- n. A running ornament or enrichment of leaves, flowers, tendrils, etc., as in the hollow moldings of Gothic architecture; a wreath.
- To overspread with a tracery or intertwining pattern or ornament.
- n. Entrails; the intestines of game when cooked and sent to table, as those of snipe and woodcock, and certain fish; also, the intestines of sheep.
- n. A rail with a cross-section having approximately the form of letter T. See rail, 5.
- v. transitive To follow behind (someone or something); to tail (someone or something).
- v. transitive To drag (something) behind on the ground.
- v. transitive To leave (a trail of).
- v. transitive To show a trailer of (a film, TV show etc.); to release or publish a preview of (a report etc.) in advance of the full publication.
- v. To be losing, to be behind in a competition.
- n. The track or indication marking the route followed by something that has passed, such as the footprints of animal on land or the contrail of an airplane in the sky.
- n. A route for travel over land, especially a narrow, unpaved pathway for use by hikers, horseback riders, etc.
- n. A trailer broadcast on television for a forthcoming film or programme.
GNU Webster's 1913
- a kind of rail for railroad tracks, having no flange at the bottom so that a section resembles the letter T.
- See under T.
- v. To hunt by the track; to track.
- v. to follow behind.
- v. To pursue.
- v. To draw or drag, as along the ground.
- v. (Mil.) To carry, as a firearm, with the breech near the ground and the upper part inclined forward, the piece being held by the right hand near the middle.
- v. To tread down, as grass, by walking through it; to lay flat.
- v. Prov. Eng. To take advantage of the ignorance of; to impose upon.
- v. To be drawn out in length; to follow after.
- v. To grow to great length, especially when slender and creeping upon the ground, as a plant; to run or climb.
- n. A track left by man or beast; a track followed by the hunter; a scent on the ground by the animal pursued.
- n. A footpath or road track through a wilderness or wild region.
- n. Anything drawn out to a length
- n. Anything drawn behind in long undulations; a train.
- n. obsolete Anything drawn along, as a vehicle.
- n. obsolete A frame for trailing plants; a trellis.
- n. The entrails of a fowl, especially of game, as the woodcock, and the like; -- applied also, sometimes, to the entrails of sheep.
- n. (Mil.) That part of the stock of a gun carriage which rests on the ground when the piece is unlimbered. See
Illust.of Gun carriage, under Gun.
- n. Prov. Eng. The act of taking advantage of the ignorance of a person; an imposition.
- v. hang down so as to drag along the ground
- v. move, proceed, or walk draggingly or slowly
- v. drag loosely along a surface; allow to sweep the ground
- n. a path or track roughly blazed through wild or hilly country
- n. evidence pointing to a possible solution
- v. to lag or linger behind
- n. a track or mark left by something that has passed
- v. go after with the intent to catch
- Latin trahere, to drag along (Wiktionary)
- Middle English trailen, probably from Old French trailler, to hunt without a foreknown course, from Vulgar Latin *trāgulāre, to make a deer double back and forth, perhaps alteration (influenced by Latin trāgula, dragnet) of Latin trahere, to pull, draw. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“There are two ways of employing it: one when it appears on back and front of the trunk, so that the trail can be run both ways; the other when it appears on but one side of each tree, making a _blind trail_, which can be run one way only, the blind trail is often used by trappers and prospectors, who do not wish anyone to follow their back track.”
“Let my brothers make sure that they do not lose the trail; they must look at the ground often: when they do not see the path they must stop and await the rising of the sun; they can not reach the cabin too soon, but they can never reach it by going wrong; _keep to the trail_!”
“But, Dad He let the word trail as he gestured to us.”
“And this season they're on the title trail once more, tucked in on Chesterfield's shoulder at the top of League Two.”
“The primary surface finish of the trail is a stone dust surface.”
“The following morning we rose bright and early and after checking and splitting our gear and food equally we drove out of Attapeu and headed to the village of Pa-am on part of the Ho Chi Minh trail, a reminder of this trail is the Russian old surface to air missile which still stands in its place.”
“It becomes clear that the forces of the mysterious Other Kingdom have a quest for her, and that the agent they are using to set the trail is her lost sister, Tati.”
“The Minnesota trail is actually outside (although they set up some windbreaks to cut down on the biting cold), and Mason and I retreived our jackets and arctic gear from the lockers and went.”
“Waldo, “finishing” the trail is an artificial goal.”
“Over the weekend, investigators found what they call a trail of bones in the area.”
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