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See also: Railroad


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From rail +‎ road. (This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “figurative usage?”)



railroad (plural railroads)

  1. (chiefly US) A permanent track consisting of fixed metal rails to drive trains or similar motorized vehicles on.
    Many railroads roughly follow the trace of older land - and/or water roads
  2. (chiefly US) The transportation system comprising such tracks and vehicles fitted to travel on the rails, usually with several vehicles connected together in a train.
  3. (chiefly US) A single, privately or publicly owned property comprising one or more such tracks and usually associated assets
    Railroads can only compete fully if their tracks are technically compatible with and linked to each-other
  4. (figurative) A procedure conducted in haste without due consideration.
    The lawyers made the procedure a railroad to get the signatures they needed.


  • railway (Britain, Ireland and Commonwealth of Nations)

Derived terms[edit]


  • Jersey Dutch: railroad


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


railroad (third-person singular simple present railroads, present participle railroading, simple past and past participle railroaded)

  1. (transitive) To transport via railroad.
  2. (intransitive) To operate a railroad.
    The Thatcherite experiment proved the private sector can railroad as inefficiently as a state monopoly
  3. (intransitive) To work for a railroad.
  4. (intransitive) To travel by railroad.
  5. (intransitive) To engage in a hobby pertaining to railroads.
  6. (transitive) To manipulate and hasten a procedure, as of formal approval of a law or resolution.
    The majority railroaded the bill through parliament, without the customary expert studies which would delay it till after the elections.
    • 2021 August 14, Jim Salter, quoting Sebastian Riedel, “The Perl Foundation is fragmenting over Code of Conduct enforcement”, in Ars Technica[1]:
      Sebastian Riedel lodged a complaint with TPF board, which he says was railroaded by a board member—therefore, Riedel quit.
    • 2023 March 8, Howard Johnston, “Was Marples the real railway wrecker?”, in RAIL, number 978, page 52:
      What appears suspect about the Beeching Report is how quickly it was railroaded through, with the answers manufactured before the questions were asked.
  7. (transitive) To convict of a crime by circumventing due process.
    They could only convict him by railroading him on suspect drug-possession charges.
    • 2001 July 7, Ian Black, quoting André Tremblay, “Defenders emerge for Milosevic”, in The Guardian[2]:
      "I'm going to the Hague to see Mr Milosevic at his request," he told CBC radio before leaving Canada. "All of us feel he's being railroaded and used as a scapegoat for Nato's attack on Yugoslavia.
    • 2006 November 11, Duncan Campbell, “Stark reminder of how an innocent man can be railroaded into spending years in jail”, in The Guardian[3]:
      Stark reminder of how an innocent man can be railroaded into spending years in jail [title]
  8. (transitive) To procedurally bully someone into an unfair agreement.
    He was railroaded into signing a non-disclosure agreement at his exit interview.
    • 2021 August 20, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, quoting Richard Azzopardi, “Cuomo Continues to Challenge His Accusers as Moving Trucks Are Loaded”, in The New York Times[4], →ISSN:
      Also on Friday, The Daily News published a column by Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, who wrote that Mr. Cuomo had been “railroaded” by Ms. James, a Democrat who is considered a possible candidate for governor next year but who has not said she plans to run.
  9. (role-playing games) To force characters to complete a task before allowing the plot to continue.
  10. (upholstery) To run fabric horizontally instead of the usual vertically.
    • 2015, Vicky Grubb, The Beginner's Guide to Upholstery, David & Charles:
      If you are upholstering a larger item, such as a sofa, it's a good idea to see if the fabric you are buying can be railroaded. Railroading refers to being able to run the fabric from left to right, rather than the conventional top to bottom. [] [W]hen a pattern is railroaded you can turn it on its side and roll it out to the width of the sofa without join lines.

Derived terms[edit]