From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishtrailtrail1 /treɪl/ ●●○ verb1pull [intransitive, transitive]PULL to pull something behind you, especially along the ground, or to be pulled in this wayA plane trailing a banner was circling overhead.trail in/on/over etcShe walked slowly along the path, her skirt trailing in the mud.trail something in/across/through etc somethingRees was leaning out of the boat trailing his hand through the water.2walk slowly [intransitive always + adverb/preposition]WALK to walk slowly, especially behind other people because you are tired or boredtrail behind/aroundSusie trailed along behind her parents.We spent the afternoon trailing around the shops.3lose a competition [intransitive, transitive usually in progressive]LOSE A GAME, COMPETITION, OR WAR to be losing in a game, competition, or electionThe Democratic candidate is still trailing in the opinion polls.trail (somebody) by somethingManchester United were trailing by two goals to one.trail in/home (=finish in a bad position)He trailed in last after a disastrous race.4follow somebody [transitive]FOLLOW to follow someone by looking for signs that they have gone in a particular directionPolice trailed the gang for several days. →trail away/off→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
trail• The Raiderstrailed 14-0 and faced fourth-and-eight at their 47-yard line.• Myers entered with the Bruins trailing 54-53 and just over 10 minutes remaining.• With his team trailing 72--78, the manager was forced to bring back his star player.• These two top drivers have left the others trailing behind.• Sweden was trailing by 2 games to 1.• Sir Walter Raleigh trails his comforter about the muddy garden, a full-length Hilliard in miniaturehose and paddedpants.• Although he is trailing in the polls, Texas Sen.• Nelson is trailing in the polls.• Standing in front of them was an extremely old man with a beard that trailed on the ground and long flowing white hair.• Police have been trailing the gang for several days.• Slugs would drag along the bathroom floor, trailing their vestments of brown slime.• Labour trailed third, behind the Conservative and Liberal parties.• A poolsidedinner after a day trailingtoddlers around the baby pool or monitoring middle schoolers on the high dive?• Penn State trailWest Virginia by only 1 point.trail in/on/over etc• His hands were trying to hide the torn pockets of his raincoat; fallen trouser-cuffs trailed over his shoes.• Half the length of the trail in Horrell Creek is the remains of an old road.• Leaving a glowingtrail over one thousand kilometers long, it broke into several large pieces as it progressed.• It was quiet there; his horse grazed contentedly, its reinstrailing on the ground.• His prey is the charred remnants of a campfire set along a trail in the heart of this tinder-drywilderness area.• She was kneeling on a kitchenchair, her long hair trailing in the margarine, when she heard the steps.• She wiped her nose with her sleeve, leaving a snail's trail on the roughwool.• A stream of urine struck the water leaving a phosphorescenttrail on the surface.trail behind/around• The hen had walked on off with all the hatchedpeepstrailing behind her.• After handing it to me Janir turned and sprinted after the other kids, his black capetrailing behind him.• From now on, as he goes about his nocturnalperambulations, he leaves a smellytrail behind him.• This walk doesn't actually explore the reserve, but there are trails around it if you want to make a detour.• There is a one and a half mile circular nature trail around the reserve, which is definitely worth doing.• She trailed around the room picking up beerbottles, looking oddly like a bee with broken wings.• The cords from their flighthelmetstrailed behind them.• I followed Mundin into the shed, turning every so often and glowering at Fifi, who trailed behind us.trail (somebody) by something• The Suns trail the Spurs by two games in the playoffs.
trailtrail2 ●●○ noun [countable]1SGROAD/PATHa rough path across countryside or through a forestThe trail led over Boulder Pass before descending to a lake. →nature trail2a long line or a series of marks that have been left by someone or somethingtrail ofa trail of wet footprintsThe bus left a trail of black smoke behind it.The typhoon left a trail of devastation.3a series of unpleasant situations or feelings that have been left by someone or somethingtrail ofHe left a trail of broken hearts and broken promises.4COFOLLOWa sign that a person or animal has been in a place, used for finding or catching themThe hunters lost the tiger’s trail in the middle of the jungle.Police tracked him to Valencia and there the trail went cold (=they could not find any signs of him).5 →be on the trail of somebody/something6all the places that a particular group of people visit for a particular purposea town on the tourist trailcampaign/election trailpoliticians on the campaign trail7the set of things that someone does to achieve somethingNew players should put the team back on the winning trail. → blaze a trailat blaze2(5), → hit the trail/roadat hit1(13)
Examples from the Corpus
trail• Every trail on this particular prairie led to Vecchi.• Griffith Park is replete with hikingtrails, and Mount Hollywood is excellent for plotting future treks.• It took a few months to perfect but here it is, a cookie that is like trail mix in a chip.• Laserbeamsswept like searchlights, leaving smoking trails across the rock, as blasters were turned towards the approaching Dalek Killer.• Although the trail of the Yuezhi ultimately leads to Bactria, it does not take them out of our story.• The dogs followed the trail of the dying animal.• There, officially, the trail ends.• City officials refuse to talk about the case, but detectives say privately the trail has gone cold.• I heard them call and answer, and I went on walking up the trail.• The trail follows the river most of the way to AvalancheLake.• This trail leads to the lighthouse.left a trail• Water poured off her and left a trail on the floor. ` Mistress Weatherwax!• The avalanche from the hilloverlooking Station Road, Deganwy, left a trail of destruction at the rear of the houses.• Hansel, fortunately, had left a trail of pebbles behind him from the house.• We regularly left a trail of tremblingmotorists.• But in 1833 there were many brilliantfireballs that left trails of dust and smoke.• One person died in the carnage, which left a trail of twisted metal across the three lanes of the west-bound carriageway.trail went cold• For one group the trail went cold.• As soon as Waite vanished, the trail went cold, because the first thing his kidnappers did was separate him from his briefcase.campaign/election trail• But despite his absence his spectredominates the campaign trail.• The prize at the end of the campaign trail is premierleaguefootball next season.• In a strictpersonalitycontest, the younger, more ebullient Clinton comes across best on the campaign trail.• In the first 28 days of September, Clinton spent 18 days on the campaign trail visiting 21 states.• Shortly after, however, he was seen out on the campaign trail, but refused to answer any questions.• Richard Lugar, for instance, briefly sought the presidency themselves but died of inhibited personality traits on the campaign trail.• GeorgeBush went to great lengths to keep out of his way on the campaign trail.• On the campaign trail, his oratorical skills have left much to be desired.on the winning trail• Gloucester are on the winning trail after their 10-3 victory over Rosslyn Park last week.• By then they need to be back on the winning trail which hopefully will start on Saturday against Moseley.• He's at Baden Baden today and should remain on the winning trail.• Double strike ... Shearer puts Swindon on the winning trail.