Definition of “rail” - English Dictionary

“rail” in British English

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uk /reɪl/ us /reɪl/

rail noun (TRAINS)

B1 [ U ] the system of transport that uses trains:

Environmentalists argue that more goods should be transported by rail.

[ C ] one of the two metal bars attached to the ground on which trains travel:

A train left/went off the rails and crashed into the bank, killing several passengers.

More examples

  • An inquiry was ordered into the recent rail disaster.
  • Government sources estimate a long-term 50% increase in rail fares.
  • The rail system is to put 20 million pounds into its modernization programme.
  • The question is whether road transit is cheaper than rail.
  • The resort is easily accessible by road, rail and air.

rail noun (BAR)

C2 [ C ] a horizontal bar fixed in position, especially to a wall or to vertical posts, used to close something off, as a support, or to hang things on:

Will spectators please stay behind the rail?
Hold onto the rail so that you don't fall.
The (clothes) rail in her wardrobe was crammed full of dresses.

More examples

  • The bathroom has a heated towel rail.
  • I watched an old woman pull herself up the stairs, holding on to a rail.
  • They leaned over the rails and peered down into the dizzying chasm below.
  • The rails were full of expensive clothes.
  • We have a heated towel rail in our bathroom.

railverb [ I + prep ]

uk /reɪl/ us /reɪl/ formal

(Definition of “rail” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“rail” in American English

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us /reɪl/

rail noun (TRAINS)

[ C/U ] one of the two metal bars fixed to the ground on which trains travel

[ C/U ] Rail also means railroad:

[ U ] Commuter rail and subway lines will be linked.

rail noun (ROD)

[ C ] a straight bar or rod fixed in position, esp. to a wall or to vertical posts, used to enclose something or as a support:

The car swerved out of control and crashed through a guard rail on the bridge.

rail verb [ I always + adv/prep ] (COMPLAIN)

to complain angrily:

He railed against the injustices of the system.

(Definition of “rail” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“rail” in Business English

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railnoun [ U ]

uk /reɪl/ us TRANSPORT

transport or travel by train:

by rail Brazil transports 30% of its goods by rail.
We need more investment in road and rail.
Rail travel accounts for less than 1% of the trips we make annually.
Road and rail links to the airport are good.

(Definition of “rail” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)