rail

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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.

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rail.
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.

Bibliography

Alcock,, Barley,, Dixon,, & and Meeson (1996);
Gwilt (1903);
W. McKay (1957)
Papworth (1887)

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railail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, nail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, wail, wale, whale, Yale •Passchendaele • Airedale •Wensleydale • Clydesdale •Chippendale • Coverdale • Abigail •galingale • martingale • nightingale •farthingale • Windscale • timescale •blackmail • airmail •email, female •Ishmael • voicemail • vermeil

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rail2 bar of wood, etc. fixed in a horizontal position XIII; hand-rail of a staircase XV; bar or continuous line of bars laid for wheels to run on (so railroad, railway) XVIII. ME. reyle, raile — OF. reille iron rod:- L. rēgula staff, rod, RULE.

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rail Slender, long-legged marsh bird. Rails are shy, generally nocturnal, and often emit melodious calls. They lay 8–15 eggs in a reed-and-grass ground nest. Length: 10–45cm (4–18in). Family Rallidae. Typical genus Rallus.

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rail1 †garment, mantle OE.; †neckerchief XV; night-rail dressing-gown XVI. OE. hræġ(e)l + OFris. (h)reil, OHG. (h)regil, of unkn. orig.

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rail4 utter abusive language. XV. — F. railler, †ragler — Pr. ralhar jest. Cf. RALLY2.

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rail3 bird of the family Rallidae. XV. — (O)F. râle (Norman-Picard dial. raille; AN. radle); of uncert. orig.