Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: trailler 'to pull after you, tow', from Vulgar Latin tragulare, from Latin tragula 'sledge, net for pulling'

trail

1 verb
     
trail1
1

pull

[intransitive and transitive] to pull something behind you, especially along the ground, or to be pulled in this way:
A plane trailing a banner was circling overhead.
trail in/on/over etc
She walked slowly along the path, her skirt trailing in the mud.
trail something in/across/through etc something
Rees was leaning out of the boat trailing his hand through the water.
2

walk slowly

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to walk slowly, especially behind other people because you are tired or bored
trail behind/around
Susie trailed along behind her parents.
We spent the afternoon trailing around the shops.
3

lose a competition

[intransitive,transitive usually in progressive] to be losing in a game, competition, or election:
The Democratic candidate is still trailing in the opinion polls.
trail (somebody) by something
Manchester United were trailing by two goals to one.
trail in/home (=finish in a bad position)
He trailed in last after a disastrous race.
4

follow somebody

[transitive] to follow someone by looking for signs that they have gone in a particular direction:
Police trailed the gang for several days.

trail away/off

phrasal verb
if someone's voice trails away or trails off, it becomes gradually quieter and then stops:
She trailed off, silenced by the look Kris gave her.

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