rail


rail
rail1
railless, adj.raillike, adj.
/rayl/, n.
1. a bar of wood or metal fixed horizontally for any of various purposes, as for a support, barrier, fence, or railing.
2. a fence; railing.
3. one of two fences marking the inside and outside boundaries of a racetrack.
4. one of a pair of steel bars that provide the running surfaces for the wheels of locomotives and railroad cars. See illus. under flange.
5. the railroad as a means of transportation: to travel by rail.
6. rails, stocks or bonds of railroad companies.
7. Naut. a horizontal member capping a bulwark.
8. Carpentry, Furniture. any of various horizontal members framing panels or the like, as in a system of paneling, paneled door, window sash, or chest of drawers. Cf. stile2.
9. Slang. a line of cocaine crystals or powder for inhaling through the nose.
v.t.
10. to furnish or enclose with a rail or rails.
[1250-1300; ME raile < OF raille bar, beam < L regula bar, straight piece of wood, REGULA]
rail2
railer, n.railingly, adv.
/rayl/, v.i.
1. to utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation (often fol. by at or against): to rail at fate.
v.t.
2. to bring, force, etc., by railing.
[1425-75; late ME railen < MF railler to deride < Pr ralhar to chatter < VL *ragulare, deriv. of LL ragere to bray]
Syn. 1. fulminate, inveigh, castigate, rant, revile.
rail3
/rayl/, n.
any of numerous birds of the family Rallidae, that have short wings, a narrow body, long toes, and a harsh cry and inhabit grasslands, forests, and marshes in most parts of the world.
[1400-50; late ME rale < OF raale (c. Pr rascla), n. deriv. of raler < VL *rasiculare freq. of L radere (ptp. rasus) to scratch]

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Any of about 100 species (family Rallidae) of slender marsh birds found almost worldwide.

Rails have short rounded wings, a short tail, large feet, and long toes. Their loud call, especially at night, reveals their presence in dense vegetation. They are mostly dull grays and browns, often with barred patterns. Species vary from 4 to 18 in. (11–45 cm) long. Short-billed species are often called crakes. The king (Rallus elegans), clapper (R. longirostris), and Virginia (R. limicola) rails and the sora, or Carolina rail (Porzana carolina), have been hunted in the U.S.; several of the rails are now endangered, and some species have been exterminated.

Virginia rail (Rallus limicola)

John H. Gerard from The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

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bird
 any of 127 species of slender, somewhat chicken-shaped marsh birds (bird), with short rounded wings, short tail, large feet, and long toes, of the family Rallidae (order Gruiformes (gruiform)). The name is sometimes used to include coots (coot) and gallinules (gallinule), which belong to the same family, but coots and gallinules are far more ostentatious. Coots and gallinules flock like ducks (duck), swim in open water, and waddle conspicuously on shore. By contrast, rails are secretive birds, hiding among reeds at the water's edge by day and uttering their calls mostly at night.

      Rails are distributed throughout the world, except in high latitudes. They vary in size from about 11 to 45 cm (4 to 18 inches) in length. Their loud calls reveal their presence in dense vegetation. Many are excellent game birds; when flushed, they take wing reluctantly, fly a short distance, and then drop to the ground. Their slender build facilitates running through reeds and marsh grasses. They are mostly dull coloured in grays and browns. Many are barred in irregular patterns. Short-billed species are often called crakes (crake).

      Rails hunted as game in the United States are the king rail (Rallus elegans), a reddish brown bird the size of a small chicken; the clapper rail (R. longirostris), a grayer form; the Virginia rail (R. limicola), reddish brown and about 25 cm (10 inches) in length; and the sora (see crake). The little yellow rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) and the American black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) are too scarce and too small (about 15 cm [6 inches]) to be of interest to the hunter.

      The corncrake, or land rail (Crex crex), is a widespread European crake. Less abundant but more widely distributed (extending to northern Africa) is the water rail (R. aquaticus), a slender bird with a long reddish bill.

      Several flightless species occur on remote oceanic islands. The Inaccessible Island rail (Atlantisia rogersi), the smallest flightless bird in the world, is found only on Inaccessible Island in the Tristan da Cunha group in the South Atlantic Ocean. The wekas of New Zealand are about the size of chickens. (For Bensch's rail, which is not a true rail, see mesite.)

Sy Montgomery
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • rail — rail …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • rail — [ raj ] n. m. • 1817; mot angl.; cf. a. fr. raille, reille « barre »; lat. regula 1 ♦ Chacune des barres d acier profilées, mises bout à bout sur deux lignes parallèles et posées sur des traverses pour constituer une voie ferrée; chacune des deux …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Rail — or rails may refer to:* Guard rail, for safety or support * Handrail, on a stairway * Rallidae, the group of birds called rails * Rail tracks * The hot rolled steel profiles used on rail tracks or Tramway tracks ** Railway rail ** Vignoles rail… …   Wikipedia

  • Rail — Rail, n. [Akin to LG. & Sw. regel bar, bolt, G. riegel a rail, bar, or bolt, OHG. rigil, rigel, bar, bolt, and possibly to E. row a line.] 1. A bar of timber or metal, usually horizontal or nearly so, extending from one post or support to another …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rail — [reɪl] noun [uncountable] TRANSPORT TRANSPORT travel or transport by train: • What percentage of goods are sent by rail? • rail travel * * * rail UK US /reɪl/ noun [U] TRANSPORT …   Financial and business terms

  • Rail — Rail, n. [F. r[^a]le, fr. r[^a]ler to have a rattling in the throat; of German origin, and akin to E. rattle. See {Rattle}, v.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of limicoline birds of the family {Rallid[ae]}, especially those of the genus… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Raíl — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para la moneda, véase Riel camboyano. Riel moderno[cita requerida]. Se denomina riel, carril o raíl a cada una de las barras met …   Wikipedia Español

  • rail — Ⅰ. rail [1] ► NOUN 1) a bar or series of bars fixed on upright supports or attached to a wall or ceiling, serving as part of a fence or barrier or used to hang things on. 2) a steel bar or continuous line of bars laid on the ground as one of a… …   English terms dictionary

  • rail — rail1 [rāl] n. [ME raile < OFr reille < L regula,RULE] 1. a bar of wood, metal, etc. placed horizontally between upright posts to serve as a barrier or support 2. a fence or railing; specif., the fence surrounding the infield of a racetrack …   English World dictionary

  • Rail — (r[=a]l), v. t. 1. To rail at. [Obs.] Feltham. [1913 Webster] 2. To move or influence by railing. [R.] [1913 Webster] Rail the seal from off my bond. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • raíl — Adaptación del inglés rail, ‘carril de la vía férrea’. En español se usa mayoritariamente como palabra bisílaba, con hiato entre las vocales en contacto: raíl [rra íl]. Se desaconseja, por tanto, la forma monosílaba ⊕ rail [rráil], con diptongo… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas


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