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[kon-treyl] /ˈkɒn treɪl/
a visible condensation of water droplets or ice crystals from the atmosphere, occurring in the wake of an aircraft, rocket, or missile under certain conditions.
Origin of contrail
1940-45; con(densation) trail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contrail
  • It had a short contrail and may have had four engines.
  • If the dolphin is swimming, the action of the flukes beats the contrail into a wavy line.
  • contrail requires users to opt-in if they want to receive information from friends.
  • Watch the reflection of the sun on the contrail and notice the angle.
  • The later visualized contrail completes the picture.
  • Several scientific studies are being conducted with respect to contrail formation and their impact on climates.
British Dictionary definitions for contrail


another name for vapour trail
Word Origin
C20: from con(densation) + 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 contrail

1945, from condensation trail.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for contrail


condensation trail
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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