tram

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See also: Tram, trám, tràm, trăm, and trạm

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

An old-fashioned tram alongside a more modern tram (sense 1) in Stockholm, Sweden
A tram (sense 4) on the Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York City, New York, USA
A horse tram (sense 8) in Douglas, Isle of Man

Etymology 1[edit]

Possibly from Low German traam (tram; balk or beam, as of a sledge or wheelbarrow; handle of a barrow or sledge; rung or step of a ladder; bar of a chair); Saterland Frisian trame, trâm (beam of wood; beam of a wheelbarrow; rung or step of a ladder; bar of a chair); said to be ultimately from a lost West Germanic (Ingvaeonic) word.[1] Compare Middle Dutch trame (balk, beam; rung of a ladder); Middle Low German trame, treme; West Flemish traam, trame.

The popular derivation from the surname of the English pioneer tramway builder Benjamin Outram (1764–1805) is false: the term pre-dated him.[2]

Noun[edit]

tram (plural trams)

  1. (Australia, Britain, rail transport) A passenger vehicle for public use that runs on tracks in the road (called a streetcar or trolley in North America).
    • 1981, Brendan Behan, Peter Fallon, editor, After the Wake: Twenty-one Prose Works including Previously Unpublished Material (Classic Irish Fiction Series), Dublin: The O'Brien Press, ISBN 978-0-905140-97-1:
      Lizzie and she got a dozen of large bottles and the loan of a basket and we got a currant pan and a half-pound of cooked ham in the shop next door and got on the tram for Whitehall.
  2. A similar vehicle for carrying materials.
    • 1789, John Brand, History and Antiquities of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne: Including an Account of the Coal Trade of that Place, volume II, London: White, OCLC 630368783, page 681:
      Trams are a kind of sledge on which coals are brought from the place where they are hewn to the shaft. A tram has four wheels but a sledge is without wheels.
  3. (US, rail transport) A people mover.
    • 2013, Ernest Adams, “Storytelling”, in Fundamentals of Game Design, 3rd edition, [San Francisco, Calif.]: New Riders, ISBN 978-0-321-92967-9, page 215:
      The game Half-Life, for example, begins with a movie in which Gordon Freeman, the player's avatar, takes a tram ride through the Black Mesa research complex while a voice explains why he is there.
  4. (US) An aerial cable car.
    • 2014, Vivienne Gucwa, “Skylines”, in NY through the Lens, Cincinnati, Oh.: Print Books, ISBN 978-1-4403-3958-5, page 129:
      It's possible that my family took the tram to Roosevelt Island at some point and the experience embedded itself deep into my imagination where it mixed with other flights of fancy (pun intended) of flying through a Gotham-like city like Batman.
  5. (US) A train with wheels that runs on a road; a trackless train.
    • 2005, Jan Friedman, Eccentric California, Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire: Bradt Travel Guides, ISBN 978-1-84162-126-5, page 124:
      Taking advantage of the VIP Experience at Universal Studios provides a more intimate and authentic look at the studio than does the regular studio tram tour. [] The VIP Experience gets you off the tram and behind the scenes: into sound stages, prop warehouses, and production facilities and on the sets of shows in production.
    • 2007, Matthew Richard Poole, Frommer's Los Angeles 2008, Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-14575-3, page 236:
      Each morning, still-groggy early-bird park-goers stumble from the parking-lot tram and head straight to La Brea's cafeteria-style Express for a caffeinated pick-me-up or a meal to start the day.
  6. (British, dated) A car on a horse railway or tramway (horse trams preceded electric trams).
  7. (obsolete) The shaft of a cart.
    • 1851, Thomas de Quincey, “William Wordsworth and Robert Southey”, in Literary Reminiscences; from the Autobiography of an English Opium-eater. [] In Two Volumes, volume II, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, OCLC 213734443, pages 14–15:
      What struck me with most astonishment, however, was the liberal manner of our fair driver, who made no scruple of taking a leap, with the reins in her hand, and seating herself dexterously upon the shafts (or, in Westmoreland phrase, the trams) of the cart.
  8. (obsolete) One of the rails of a tramway.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

tram (third-person singular simple present trams, present participle tramming, simple past and past participle trammed)

  1. (intransitive) To operate, or conduct the business of, a tramway.
  2. (intransitive) To travel by tram.
  3. (transitive) To transport (material) by tram.
  4. (US, transitive) To align a component in mechanical engineering or metalworking, particularly the head of a drill press.
    • 1875 October 29, James T. Beckwith, “[Patent number] 171,974. Leveling and Tramming Apparatus for Millstones. James T. Beckwith, Cameron Mills, N.Y. [Filed Oct. 29, 1875.]”, in Specifications and Drawings of Patents Issued from the United States Patent Office for January, 1876: Patents No. 171,641 to 172,817; Reissues No. 6,831 to 6,885, Inclusive, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, published 1876, OCLC 8836326, page 315, column 1:
      My invention consists of a frame suspended from another frame, on which the stone rests, and is leveled by screws from below, on which suspended frame are screws, which, being adjusted in the frame when the stone is first leveled by its face, serve afterward to level the stone at any time without removing the runner, and this lower frame serves for tramming the spindle; []

Etymology 2[edit]

From Spanish trama, or French trame (weft).

Noun[edit]

tram (plural trams)

  1. (weaving) A silk thread formed of two or more threads twisted together, used especially for the weft, or cross threads, of the best quality of velvets and silk goods.
    • 1951, F[rederick] J[ohn] Christopher, “Materials and Quantities”, in Hand-loom Weaving, London: Frederick Muller, OCLC 559101267:
      The two types of silk of greatest interest to the hand weaver are known as Organzine and Tram. Organzine is a warp silk and is made from two or more single threads twisted together in the opposite direction from the original twist. Tram is a weft silk and it is made from two or more singles lightly twisted together.
    • 2011, Nancy C. Britton, “Reconciling Conservation and Interpretation: Strategies for Long-term Display of a Late Seventeenth-century Bed”, in Kathryn Gill and Dinah Eastop, editors, Upholstery Conservation: Principles and Practice, Abingdon, Oxon.; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-7506-4506-5, page 64, column 2:
      Analysis of the seventeenth-century damask revealed that both its warp and weft were silk filaments; the organzine warp was dyed a dark blue and the tram silk of the weft was a somewhat lighter blue.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ivor Henry Evans (1971) Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, centenary edition, London: Cassell, ISBN 978-0-304-93570-3.
  2. ^ Anatoly Liberman (5 August 2009), “A Derailed Myth, or, a Story of the Word Tram”, in The Oxford Etymologist, OUPblog, Oxford University Press[1], archived from the original on 4 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin trama.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

tram m (plural trams)

  1. segment (of road etc.)

Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English tram.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

tram m (plural trams or trammen, diminutive trammetje n)

  1. A tram, vehicle on rails for passenger transport in cities.

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Shortened from tramway.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

tram m (plural trams)

  1. tram (UK), streetcar (US)

Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

tram m (invariable)

  1. tram, streetcar

Norman[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English tram.

Noun[edit]

tram m (plural trams)

  1. (Jersey) tram