rail1 / rāl/ • n. 1. a bar or series of bars, typically fixed on upright supports, serving as part of a fence or barrier or used to hang things on. ∎ (the rails) the inside boundary fence of a racecourse. ∎ the edge of a surfboard or sailboard. ∎ the rim of a billiard or pool table. 2. a steel bar or continuous line of bars laid on the ground as one of a pair forming a railroad track: trolley rails. ∎ [often as adj.] railroads as a means of transportation: rail fares traveling by rail. 3. a horizontal piece in the frame of a paneled door or sash window. Compare with stile2 . 4. Electr. a conductor that is maintained at a fixed potential and to which other parts of a circuit are connected. • v. 1. [tr.] provide or enclose (a space or place) with a rail or rails: the altar is railed off from the nave. 2. [intr.] (in windsurfing) sail the board on its edge, so that it is at a sharp angle to the surface of the water. PHRASES: go off the rails inf. begin behaving in a strange, abnormal, or wildly uncontrolled way.DERIVATIVES: rail·less adj. rail2 • v. [intr.] (rail against/at/about) complain or protest strongly and persistently about: he railed at human fickleness. DERIVATIVES: rail·er n. rail3 • n. a secretive bird (Rallus and other genera) with drab gray and brown plumage, typically having a long bill and found in dense waterside vegetation. The rail family (Rallidae) also includes the crakes, gallinules, moorhens, and coots.
1. Horizontal member of a wall-frame between the posts or studs in timber-framed construction.
2. Horizontal timber in a door, panelling, wainscot, etc. Types of rail include:chair-rail: cornice at the top of a dado around a room;clamp rail: rebated timber to receive the ends of boards, as in a ceiling, etc., called batten or cleat in the USA;dado-rail: as chair-rail above;frieze rail: rail in a panelled door corresponding to the frieze in position;hanging-rail: rail to which hinges are fixed in a door, window, etc. A rail with hinges at the side of a panelled door is a stile;lock-rail: rail in a framed door into which the lock is fitted, usually corresponding to the top of a dado;mid-rail: horizontal timber in a wall-frame placed half-way in a storey, or between a cill and a wall-plate.
Alcock,, Barley,, Dixon,, & and Meeson (1996);
W. McKay (1957)