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[trawl] /trɔl/
Also called trawl net. a strong fishing net for dragging along the sea bottom.
Also called trawl line. a buoyed line used in sea fishing, having numerous short lines with baited hooks attached at intervals.
verb (used without object)
to fish with a net that drags along the sea bottom to catch the fish living there.
to fish with a trawl line.
to troll.
verb (used with object)
to catch with a trawl net or a trawl line.
to drag (a trawl net).
to troll.
1475-85; < Middle Dutch tragel (noun), tragelen (v.); cognate with trail
Related forms
trawlable, adjective
trawlability, noun
Can be confused
trawl, troll. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trawling
  • Subsistence fishing and commercial trawling occur within refuge waters.
  • Enjoy the best of both worlds by spending the days trawling through the historic streets.
  • We already know that nothing is sacred, not when it comes to trawling the depths of popular culture in search of movie ideas.
  • The government deliberately encouraged the expansion of the offshore fishery, even buying a major trawling company itself.
  • Then scientists went trawling for new bacteria in the oceans and, as they always do, found some surprises.
  • Every six months or so he buys a script from one of the many itinerant writers trawling the market, and hires a producer and crew.
  • The authors boast of watching the queen at work, interviewing officials from the royal household and of trawling through archives.
  • Its pointless trawling back through history looking for reasons to justify hatred of people or countries.
  • Technology has made it possible to quickly destroy whole marine ecosystems via trawling.
  • trawling for personal use is restricted to the same license requirements, areas and seasons as commercial trawling.
British Dictionary definitions for trawling


noun (fishing:Sea)
Also called trawl net. a large net, usually in the shape of a sock or bag, drawn at deep levels behind special boats (trawlers)
Also called trawl line. a long line to which numerous shorter hooked lines are attached, suspended between buoys See also setline, trotline
the act of trawling
(fishing:Sea) to catch or try to catch (fish) with a trawl net or trawl line
(fishing:Sea) (transitive) to drag (a trawl net) or suspend (a trawl line)
(intransitive) foll by for. to seek or gather (something, such as information, or someone, such as a likely appointee) from a wide variety of sources
noun, verb
(angling) another word for troll1
Word Origin
C17: from Middle Dutch traghelen to drag, from Latin trāgula dragnet; see trail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for trawling



1560s, from Dutch tragelen, from Middle Dutch traghelen "to drag," from traghel "dragnet," probably from Latin tragula "dragnet." Related: Trawled; trawling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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