Definition of trail noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//treɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//treɪl//
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  1. 1a long line or series of marks that is left by somebody/something a trail of blood tourists who leave a trail of litter everywhere they go The hurricane left a trail of destruction behind it.
  2. 2a track, sign or smell that is left behind and that can be followed, especially in hunting The hounds were following the fox's trail. The police are still on the trail of the escaped prisoner. Fortunately the trail was still warm (= clear and easy to follow). The trail had gone cold. Wordfinderchase, falconry, game, hunt, open season, pack, poach, prey, safari, trail
  3. 3a path through the countryside a trail through the forest see also nature trail See related entries: Hobbies
  4. 4a route that is followed for a particular purpose a tourist trail (= of famous buildings) politicians on the campaign trail (= travelling around to attract support)
  5. Word OriginMiddle English (as a verb): from Old French traillier ‘to tow’, or Middle Low German treilen ‘haul a boat’, based on Latin tragula ‘dragnet’, from trahere ‘to pull’. Compare with trawl. The noun originally denoted the train of a robe, later generalized to denote something trailing.Extra examples Ants follow a scent trail laid down previously. Detectives had found several new clues and were back on the murderer’s trail. I like to hit the trail early and be finished by eight. In 1967 she hit the hippy trail to India. The couple laid a false trail to escape the press photographers. The dog had picked up the trail of a rabbit. The fox had crossed a stream, and the hounds lost the trail. The hurricane passed, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. The tourists left a trail of empty cans behind them. The trail wends its way through dark forests. The trail wends its way through leafy woodland and sunny meadows. They had to find the kidnappers before the trail went cold. This restaurant is off the tourist trail. We did the Inca trail. A woodland trail leads off to the right. Fortunately the trail was still warm. The Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia. The Norfolk Coast path is part of a National Trail. The hounds were following the fox’s trail. The trail was covered with deep snow. They have made a new nature trail through the woods. We set off to walk the trail that winds along the Colorado River. a trail of blood/​footprints tourists who leave a trail of litter everywhereIdioms to be the first to do or to discover something that others follow The department is blazing a trail in the field of laser surgery. compare trailblazer (informal) to start a journey/trip
    hot on somebody’s/something’s tracks/trail
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    (informal) close to catching or finding the person or thing that you have been chasing or searching for
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: trail