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trail - definition and synonyms


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verb trail pronunciation in British English /treɪl/
Word Forms
present tense
present participletrailing
past tensetrailed
past participletrailed
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  1. 1
    [intransitive] to move slowly and in a tired or unhappy way, often so that you are a short distance behind other people
    trail after/behind/around: My husband usually trails behind me when I’m shopping.
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] mainly journalism to be losing in a competition or election
    A recent poll shows the Democrats trailing the Republicans.
    trail by: At the end of the round, Garcia trailed by two strokes.
  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to pull something behind you, or to be pulled behind someone or something
    Trailing his coat in the dirt, he turned towards home.
    I don’t want the dress to trail along the ground.
  4. 4
    [transitive] to leave marks on a surface or a substance in the air as you go through a place
    The dogs came in, trailing mud everywhere.
    a jeep trailing clouds of dust
    1. a.
      [intransitive] if a line of marks or long thin objects trail across a place, they are left there by someone or something
      trail across/over/along: Old cables and wires trailed across the garden.
  5. 5
    [transitive] to follow someone secretly in order to learn something about them
    Detectives trailed Evans for weeks.
  6. 6
    [intransitive/transitive] if something trails somewhere, it hangs down from something
    geraniums trailing from terracotta pots

phrasal verbs


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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