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

  • noun A series of connected railroad cars pulled or pushed by one or more locomotives.
  • noun A long line of moving people, animals, or vehicles.
  • noun The personnel, vehicles, and equipment following and providing supplies and services to a combat unit.
  • noun A part of a gown that trails behind the wearer.
  • noun A staff of people following in attendance; a retinue.
  • noun An orderly succession of related events or thoughts; a sequence. synonym: series.
  • noun A series of consequences wrought by an event; aftermath.
  • noun A set of linked mechanical parts.
  • noun A string of gunpowder that acts as a fuse for exploding a charge.
  • intransitive verb To coach in or accustom to a mode of behavior or performance.
  • intransitive verb To make proficient with specialized instruction and practice. synonym: teach.
  • intransitive verb To prepare physically, as with a regimen.
  • intransitive verb To cause (a plant or one's hair) to take a desired course or shape, as by manipulating.
  • intransitive verb To point or direct (a gun or camera, for example) at something. synonym: aim.
  • intransitive verb To let drag behind; trail.
  • intransitive verb To give or undergo a course of training.
  • intransitive verb To travel by railroad train.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as train-oil.
  • To draw or drag along; trail.
  • To draw by artifice, stratagem, persuasion, or the like; entice; allure.
  • To bring into some desired course or state by means of some process of instruction and exercise.
  • To make proficient or efficient, as in some art or profession, by instruction, exercise, or discipline; make proficient by instruction or drill: as, to train nurses; to train soldiers.
  • To tame or render docile; exercise m the performance of certain tasks or tricks: as, to train dogs or monkeys.
  • To fit by proper exercise and regimen for the performance of some feat; render capable of enduring the strain incident to a contest of any kind, by a course of suitable exercise, regimen, etc.; put in suitable condition, as for a race, by preparatory exercise, etc.: as, to train a boat's crew for a race.
  • To give proper or some particular shape or direction to by systematic manipulation or extension; specifically, in gardening, to extend the branches of, as on a wall, espalier, etc.
  • To bring to bear; direct or aim carefully: as, to train a gun upon a vessel or a fort.
  • Synonyms To school, habituate, inure. See instruction.
  • To be attracted or lured.
  • To exercise; impart proficiency by practice and use; drill; discipline.
  • To fit one's self for the performance of some feat by preparatory regimen and exercise.
  • To be under training, as a recruit for the army; be drilled for military service.
  • To travel by train or by rail: sometimes with an indefinite it.
  • To consort with; be on familiar terms with: as, I don't train with that crowd. Compare def. 4.
  • To romp; carry on.
  • noun That which is drawn along behind, or which forms the hinder part; a trail.
  • noun The tail of a comet or of a meteor
  • noun The tail of a bird, especially when long, large, or conspicuous. See cuts under Argus, peafowl, Phaëthon, Phasianus, Promerops, Terpsiphone, and Trogonidæ.
  • noun That part of the carriage of a field-gun which rests upon the ground when the gun is unlimbered or in position for firing; the trail.
  • noun A following; a body of followers or attendants; a retinue.
  • noun A succession of connected things or events; a series: as, a train of circumstances.
  • noun In machinery, a set of wheels, or wheels and pinions in series, through which motion is transmitted consecutively: as, the train of a watch (that is, the wheels intervening between the barrel and the escapement); the going-train of a clock (that by which the hands are turned); the striking-train (that by which the striking part is actuated).
  • noun In metal-working, two or more pairs of connected rolls in a rolling-mill worked as one system; a set of rolls used in rolling various metals, especially puddled iron and steel; a roll-train.
  • noun A connected line of carriages, cars, or wagons moving or intended to be moved on a railway.
  • noun A string or file of animals on the march.
  • noun A line of combustible material to lead fire to a charge or mine: same as squib, 2.
  • noun A company in order; a procession.
  • noun Suitable or proper sequence, order, or arrangement; course; process: as, everything is now in train for a settlement.
  • noun A kind of sleigh used in Canada for the transportation of merchandise, wood, etc.
  • noun The lure used to recall a hawk.


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

[Middle English, trailing part of a gown, from Old French, from trainer, to drag, from Vulgar Latin *tragīnāre, from *tragere, to pull, back-formation from tractus, past participle of Latin trahere.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman trayne, Middle French traïne, from traïr ("to betray").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French train ("a delay, a drawing out"), from trainer ("to pull out, to draw"), from Vulgar Latin *tragināre, from *tragere, from Latin trahere ("to pull, to draw"). The verb was derived from the noun in Middle English.


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  • Or think of a decent young citizen in a toga--perhaps too much dice, you know--coming out here in the train of some prefect, or tax-gatherer, or trader even, to mend his fortunes. -- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    Assuming this is #5 on the American Heritage Dictionary definition...

    March 5, 2011