From Middle English trailen, from Old French trailler (“to tow; pick up the scent of a quarry”), from Vulgar Latin *tragulāre (“to drag”), from Latin tragula (“dragnet, javelin thrown by a strap”), probably related to Latin trahere (“to pull, drag along”).
- (transitive) To follow behind (someone or something); to tail (someone or something).
- The hunters trailed their prey deep into the woods.
- (transitive) To drag (something) behind on the ground.
- You'll get your coat all muddy if you trail it around like that.
- (transitive) To leave (a trail of).
- He walked into the house, soaking wet, and trailed water all over the place.
- (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.
- His new film was trailed on TV last night.
- There were no surprises in this morning's much-trailed budget statement.
- (intransitive) To hang or drag loosely behind; to move with a slow sweeping motion.
- The bride's long dress trailed behind her as she walked down the aisle.
- (intransitive) To run or climb like certain plants.
- (intransitive) To drag oneself lazily or reluctantly along.
- Our parents marched to church and we trailed behind.
- To be losing, to be behind in a competition.
- 2011 December 29, Keith Jackson, “SPL: Celtic 1 Rangers 0”, in Daily Record:
- Neil Lennon and his players have, in almost no time at all, roared back from trailing Rangers by 15 points in November to ending the year two points clear.
- (military) To carry (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.
- To flatten (grass, etc.) by walking through it; to tread down.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Longfellow to this entry?)
- (dated) To take advantage of the ignorance of; to impose upon.
trail (plural trails)
- 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.
- A route for travel over land, especially a narrow, unpaved pathway for use by hikers, horseback riders, etc.
- A trailer broadcast on television for a forthcoming film or programme.
- (graph theory) A walk in which all the edges are distinct.