Meaning of RAIL in English

I. ˈrāl, esp before pause or consonant ˈrāəl noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English reil, from Old English hrægl garment, cloak; akin to Old Frisian hreil garment, Old High German hregil

1. archaic : a loose garment worn in varying style especially by women since the early medieval period

2. obsolete : a neckerchief for women

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English raile, from Middle French reille ruler, bar, from Latin regula straight piece of wood, ruler, from regere to keep straight, direct, rule — more at right


a. : a bar usually of timber or metal extending from one post or support to another as a guard or barrier (as in a fence, balustrade, or staircase) ; specifically : one made by splitting a small log and used especially in making rail fences — compare rider 6a

b. : a horizontal structural member in a frame or paneling (as in furniture, woodwork, or stage flats) — compare newel , stile ; see door illustration

c. : a long piece of wood or other material serving as a structural member or support (as in a paino action or an automobile frame)

curtain rail

the side rails of a ladder

the brass rail in a saloon


a. : a construction of bars and posts : fence , railing


(1) : the stout narrow plank that forms the top of the bulwarks of a ship

(2) : a light structure of wood or metal serving as a guard at the outer extremity of a deck — often used in combination

poop rail

forecastle rail

— see ship illustration

(3) : a section of planking with holes for belaying pins (as around a mast or across the shrouds) — see fife rail ; compare pinrail a

c. : a fence bounding a racetrack

the inner rail

the outer rail


a. : a bar originally of wood but now usually of rolled steel forming a track for vehicles whose wheels run in a depression in the bar (as in street railways) or on the top of the bar

piers carry the overhead crane rails — Architectural Review

— compare bullheaded 3b, flange rail , t rail


(1) : railroad rails in bulk

trend toward the use of heavier rail — Yrbk. of Railroad Information

(2) : a continuous line of railroad rails

boys walking on the rail

lay rail

(3) : track

the meanest stretch of rail ever spiked — A.E.Somerville

— usually used in plural

a sleek and shining streamliner hurrying along the rails — Stories Behind the Pictures

network of rails sharply divides the industrial section — American Guide Series: Texas

c. : railroad

travel or ship by rail

the rails want more liberal treatment as to tax write-offs for depreciation — Sat. Eve. Post

the terminal of the central rail — Irene S. van Dongen

4. rails plural : stocks or bonds of railroad companies

5. slang : a railroad employee

6. carriage rail

7. : the cushioned rim around the bed of a billiard, pool, or crap table

- on the rails

- over the rail

III. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English railen, from raile rail

1. : to provide with rails or a railing : fence

being railed away solicitously from small precipices — Elizabeth Bowen

— often used with in or off

rail in a space

2. chiefly Britain : to transport by railroad

apricots and plums, railed in large containers — Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

IV. adjective

: or of relating to railroads

rail connections for various points

V. noun

( plural rail or rails )

Etymology: Middle English rale, raile, from Middle French raale

: any of numerous precocial wading birds structurally related to the cranes but of small or medium size having short rounded wings, a short tail, and usually very long toes that enable them to run on the soft mud of swamps and consituting a distinct subfamily of Rallidae ; broadly : a bird of the family Rallidae — see black rail , clapper rail , corncrake , king rail , sora , water rail


VI. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English railen, from Middle French railler to ridicule, mock, from Old Provençal ralhar to babble, joke, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin ragulare to bray, from Late Latin ragere to neigh

intransitive verb

1. : to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or vituperative language : utter reproaches, abuse, or angry complaints : rant

listened to herself rail on — Clae Waltham

cursed and railed, and finally declared he was going to trail the raiders — Zane Grey

went abroad to rail at the insecurity and poverty — Edmund Wilson

made their listeners aware of the very things they were railing against — J.G.Harrison

2. obsolete : scoff , jest , banter

transitive verb

archaic : to move, effect, or influence by railing

noble natures … are not railed into vice — Sir Thomas Browne

Synonyms: see scold

VII. noun

( -s )

: railing , taunting, scolding

VIII. noun

: a specialized drag-racing vehicle with very large wide tires in the rear and tiny bicycle tires in the front and with a chassis that consists essentially of two long braced rails

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.