• Train


    Origin 1

    From Middle English, from Old French train ("a delay, a drawing out"), from traïner ("to pull out, to draw"), from Vulgar Latin *tragināre, from *tragere, from Latin trahere ("to pull, to draw"). The verb was derived from the noun in Middle English.

    Full definition of train



    (plural trains)
    1. Elongated portion.
      1. The elongated back portion of a dress or skirt (or an ornamental piece of material added to similar effect), which drags along the ground. from 14th c.
        Unfortunately, the leading bridesmaid stepped on the bride's train as they were walking down the aisle.
        • 1817, Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey:They called each other by their Christian name, were always arm in arm when they walked, pinned up each other's train for the dance, and were not to be divided in the set ....
        • 1819, s:Author:Washington Irving, s:The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, He was generally seen trooping like a colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast-off galligaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with one hand, as a lady does her train in bad weather.
        • 2011, Imogen Fox, The Guardian, 20 Apr 2011:Lace sleeves, a demure neckline, a full skirt and a relatively modest train.
      2. A trail or line of something, especially gunpowder. from 15th c.
        • 1873, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Aunt Charlotte's Stories of English History for the little ones:A party was sent to search, and there they found all the powder ready prepared, and, moreover, a man with a lantern, one Guy Fawkes, who had undertaken to be the one to set fire to the train of gunpowder, hoping to escape before the explosion.
      3. (now rare) An animal's trail or track. from 16th c.
      4. Connected sequence of people or things.
        1. A group of people following an important figure, king etc.; a retinue, a group of retainers. from 14th c.
          • 1610, , by William Shakespeare, act 5 scene 1Sir, I invite your Highness and your train / To my poor cell, where you shall take your rest /For this one night
          • 2009, Anne Easter Smith, The King's Grace:Grace was glad the citizenry did not know Katherine Gordon was in the king's train, but she was beginning to understand Henry's motive for including the pretender's wife.
        2. A group of animals, vehicles, or people that follow one another in a line, such as a wagon train; a caravan or procession. from 15th c.
          Our party formed a train at the funeral parlor before departing for the burial.
        3. A sequence of events or ideas which are interconnected; a course or procedure of something. from 15th c.
          • 1872, Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals:A man may be absorbed in the deepest thought, and his brow will remain smooth until he encounters some obstacle in his train of reasoning, or is interrupted by some disturbance, and then a frown passes like a shadow over his brow.
          • 2012, Rory Carroll, The Guardian, 18 Jun 2012:"Where was I?" he asked several times during the lunch, losing his train of thought.
        4. (military) The men and vehicles following an army, which carry artillery and other equipment for battle or siege. from 16th c.
        5. A set of interconnected mechanical parts which operate each other in sequence. from 18th c.
        6. A series of electrical pulses. from 19th c.
        7. A series of specified vehicles, originally tramcars in a mine, and later especially railway carriages, coupled together. from 19th c.
        8. A line of connected railway cars or carriages considered overall as a mode of transport; (as uncountable noun) rail travel. from 19th c.
          The train will pull in at midday.
          • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 5, We expressed our readiness, and in ten minutes were in the station wagon, rolling rapidly down the long drive, for it was then after nine....As we reached the lodge we heard the whistle, and we backed up against one side of the platform as the train pulled up at the other.
          • 2009, Hanif Kureishi, The Guardian, 24 Jan 2009:This winter we thought we'd go to Venice by train, for the adventure.
          • 2013-06-01, Ideas coming down the track, A “moving platform” scheme...is more technologically ambitious than maglev trains even though it relies on conventional rails. Local trains would use side-by-side rails to roll alongside intercity trains and allow passengers to switch trains by stepping through docking bays.
        9. A long, heavy sleigh used in Canada for the transportation of merchandise, wood, etc.
        10. (sex, slang) An act wherein series of men line up and then penetrate a woman or bottom, especially as a form of gang rape. from 20th c.
          • 1988, X Motion Picture and Center for New Art Activities (New York, N.Y.), Bomb: Issues 26-29, linkThen Swooney agreed, "Yeah, let's run a train up the fat cunt."
          • 2005, Violet Blue, Best Women's Erotica 2006: Volume 2001, link“You want us to run a train on you?”
          • 2010, Diesel King, A Good Time in the Hood, page 12We eventually began to decide that with the endless supply of men we had there was no need to only run trains, or gangbang, the insatiables.



    1. (intransitive) To practice an ability.
      She trained seven hours a day to prepare for the Olympics.
    2. (transitive) To teach and form by practice; to educate; to exercise with discipline.
      • DrydenThe warrior horse here bred he's taught to train.
      • 2013-06-07, Gary Younge, Hypocrisy lies at heart of Manning prosecution, The dispatches also exposed the blatant discrepancy between the west's professed values and actual foreign policies. Having lectured the Arab world about democracy for years, its collusion in suppressing freedom was undeniable as protesters were met by weaponry and tear gas made in the west, employed by a military trained by westerners.
    3. You can't train a pig to write poetry.
    4. (intransitive) To improve one's fitness.
      I trained with weights all winter.
    5. To proceed in sequence.
    6. (transitive) To move (a gun) laterally so that it points in a different direction.
      The assassin had trained his gun on the minister.
    7. (transitive, horticulture) To encourage (a plant or branch) to grow in a particular direction or shape, usually by pruning and bending.
      The vine had been trained over the pergola.
      • JeffreyHe trained the young branches to the right hand or to the left.
    8. (mining) To trace (a lode or any mineral appearance) to its head.
    9. (transitive, video games) To create a trainer for; to apply cheats to (a game).
      • 2000, "Sensei David O.E. Mohr - Lord Ronin from Q-Link", WTB:"The Last V-8" C128 game -name correction (on newsgroup comp.sys.cbm)I got a twix on the 128 version being fixed and trained by Mad Max at M2K BBS 208-587-7636 in Mountain Home Idaho. He fixes many games and puts them on his board. One of my sources for games and utils.
    10. (obsolete) To draw along; to trail; to drag.
      • MiltonIn hollow cube
        Training his devilish enginery.
    11. (obsolete) To draw by persuasion, artifice, or the like; to attract by stratagem; to entice; to allure.
      • ShakespeareIf but a dozen French
        Were there in arms, they would be as a call
        To train ten thousand English to their side.
      • ShakespeareO, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note.
      • FordThis feast, I'll gage my life,
        Is but a plot to train you to your ruin.

    Derived terms

    terms derived from train (verb)

    Origin 2

    From Anglo-Norman traine, Middle French traïne, from traïr ("to betray").



    (plural trains)
    1. (obsolete) Treachery; deceit. 14th-19th c.
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.3:In the meane time, through that false Ladies traine
        He was surprisd, and buried under beare,
        Ne ever to his worke returnd againe ....
    2. (obsolete) A trick or stratagem. 14th-19th c.
    3. (obsolete) A trap for animals; a snare. 14th-18th c.
    4. (obsolete) A lure; a decoy. 15th-18th c.


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