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(1)   Any of numerous widely distributed small wading birds of the family Rallidae having short wings and very long toes for running on soft mud
(2)   A horizontal bar (usually of wood)
(3)   Short for railway
"He traveled by rail"
"He was concerned with rail safety"
(4)   A barrier consisting of a horizontal bar and supports
(5)   A bar or pair of parallel bars of rolled steel making the railway along which railroad cars or other vehicles can roll


(6)   Criticize severely
"He fulminated against the Republicans' plan to cut Medicare"
"She railed against the bad social policies"
(7)   Spread negative information about
"The Nazi propaganda vilified the Jews"
(8)   Complain bitterly
(9)   Fish with a handline over the rails of a boat
"They are railing for fresh fish"
(10)   Lay with rails
"Hundreds of miles were railed out here"
(11)   Travel by rail or train
"They railed from Rome to Venice"
"She trained to Hamburg"
(12)   Convey (goods etc.) by rails
"Fresh fruit are railed from Italy to Belgium"
(13)   Separate with a railing
"Rail off the crowds from the Presidential palace"
(14)   Provide with rails
"The yard was railed"
(15)   Enclose with rails
"Rail in the old graves"

Etymology 1

reille, regula, rule, bar, from regere, to rule, to guide, to govern.


  1. A horizontal bar extending between supports and used for support or as a barrier; a railing.
  2. The metal bar that makes the track for a railroad.
  3. A railroad; a railway.
  4. A horizontal piece of wood that serves to separate sections of a door or window.
  5. Lengthwise edges of a surfboard.

Etymology 2

râle, rasle. Compare Medieval Latin rallus. Named from its harsh cry, Vulgar Latin rasculum, from Latin radere, to scrape.


  1. Any of several birds in the family Rallidae.

Related terms

  • ralline

Usage notes

Usually in the form "rail against". E.g. The main opposition parties railed against the government's new tax proposals.


  1. An item of clothing; a cloak or other garment.
  2. Specifically, a woman's headscarf or neckerchief.


  1. To gush, flow (of liquid).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book V:
      his breste and his brayle was bloodé – and hit rayled all over the see.