from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A structure made of a rail, often connecting a series of upright members, that is used as a guard or barrier or for support, as on a balcony or next to a staircase.
  • noun The rail of such a structure.
  • noun Rails considered as a group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Rails collectively; a combination of rails; a construction in which rails form an important part.
  • noun Hence Any openwork construction used as a barrier, parapet, or the like, primarily of wood, but also of iron bars, wire, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A barrier made of a rail or of rails, together with vertical supports. The typical railing in the interior of structures or on porches has a horizontal rail near waist height, and multiple vertical supports. Its function is usually to provide a safety barrier at the edge of a verticle drop to prevent falls.
  • noun Rails in general; also, material for making rails.
  • adjective Expressing reproach; insulting.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A fence or barrier consisting of one or more horizontal rails and vertical supports.
  • verb Present participle of rail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun material for making rails or rails collectively
  • noun a barrier consisting of a horizontal bar and supports


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Of one particular example of the manager's addiction to psychological warfare, he remarks that "it exposed for the umpteenth time the element of hypocrisy involved in railing against supposed trouble-making in the media while remaining such an arch-exponent of the black art himself".

    Football – Bloody Hell! The Biography of Alex Ferguson by Patrick Barclay – review Richard Williams 2010

  • Also in glass, the staircase railing is an absolute expression of discretion, a way to give the voids centre stage.

    St. Lambert Residence by René Desjardins 2008

  • On the open side, the railing is wide like a bench, and many senior citizens were sitting on it and playing cards, Chinese checkers, and Chinese chess (shougi).

    April 13th, 2007 ceciliatan 2007

  • Not a word railing against the constraints of the system but instead straightforward discussion of getting the job done.

    David Thielen: Michael Bennet Interview 2009

  • While down his cheeks and mine tears ran in railing rain:

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night 2006

  • Ophelia leaps about and barks, indignant at a style of hunting so contrary to her habits; and Sir Ralph, astride the stone railing, is smoking a cigar and, as usual, looking on impassively at other people's pleasure or vexation.

    Indiana 1900

  • To render evil for evil, or railing for railing, is a sinful unchristian practice; the magistrate may punish evil-doers, and private men may seek a legal remedy when they are wronged; but private revenge by duelling, scolding, or secret mischief, is forbidden Prov. xx.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation) 1721

  • The student groups have every right to question Baldwin's decision, a decision she received many phone calls railing against and one of the few times she has decided in opposition to her constituents.

    The Daily Cardinal Online 2008

  • Day, on the contrary, was amazingly cheerful, particularly when the sun shone; never troubled his head about what was to happen when his fun was over: on the contrary, thought his fun ought to last for ever because it was pleasant, was quite vexed when it was put a stop to, and had no scruple in railing at his rival; whose only object, as it seemed to him, was to overshadow and put an end to all the happiness that was to be found.

    Parables From Nature 1857

  • If they hadn’t mindlessly shilled for Bush and made total asses of themselves in railing against Gore and Kerry for turning out to be right about the main arguments of the day, then maybe they’d be taken more seriously.

    Matthew Yglesias » More Condescension Needed 2010


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