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[reyl] /reɪl/
verb (used without object)
to utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation (often followed by at or against):
to rail at fate.
verb (used with object)
to bring, force, etc., by railing.
Origin of rail2
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English railen < Middle French railler to deride < Provençal ralhar to chatter < Vulgar Latin *ragulāre, derivative of Late Latin ragere to bray
Related forms
railer, noun
railingly, adverb
1. fulminate, inveigh, castigate, rant, revile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for railer
Historical Examples
  • Clifford replied jestingly; and the jest, if bad, was good enough to content the railer.

    Paul Clifford, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • But you are a railer, and see nothing but the outside and the show.

    The Great Return Arthur Machen
  • "I know you are a railer," he said, and the phrase coming from this mild old gentleman astonished, me unutterably.

    The Great Return Arthur Machen
  • Stilling himself relates how, when one at the table directed a gibe at him, it was Goethe who rebuked the railer.

    The Youth of Goethe Peter Hume Brown
  • Oh, you railer at royalty and slanderer of all that is noble and good!

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • All nature cries aloud, 'Shall man do less than heal the smiter, and the railer bless?'

  • To the skeptic and railer, Amittai is as an unknown quantity in an algebraic problem.

    A Few Words About the Devil Charles Bradlaugh
British Dictionary definitions for railer


a horizontal bar of wood, metal, etc, supported by vertical posts, functioning as a fence, barrier, handrail, etc
a horizontal bar fixed to a wall on which to hang things: a picture rail
a horizontal framing member in a door or piece of panelling Compare stile2
short for railing
one of a pair of parallel bars laid on a prepared track, roadway, etc, that serve as a guide and running surface for the wheels of a railway train, tramcar, etc
  1. short for railway
  2. (as modifier): rail transport
(nautical) a trim for finishing the top of a bulwark
off the rails
  1. into or in a state of dysfunction or disorder
  2. eccentric or mad
verb (transitive)
to provide with a rail or railings
usually foll by in or off. to fence (an area) with rails
Derived Forms
railless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French raille rod, from Latin rēgula ruler, straight piece of wood


(intransitive; foll by at or against) to complain bitterly or vehemently: to rail against fate
Derived Forms
railer, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French railler to mock, from Old Provençal ralhar to chatter, joke, from Late Latin ragere to yell, neigh


any of various small wading birds of the genus Rallus and related genera: family Rallidae, order Gruiformes (cranes, etc). They have short wings, long legs, and dark plumage
Word Origin
C15: from Old French raale, perhaps from Latin rādere to scrape
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 railer



"horizontal bar passing from one post or support to another," c.1300, from Old French reille "bolt, bar," from Vulgar Latin *regla, from Latin regula "straight stick," diminutive form related to regere "to straighten, guide" (see regal). Used figuratively for thinness from 1872. To be off the rails in a figurative sense is from 1848, an image from the railroads. In U.S. use, "A piece of timber, cleft, hewed, or sawed, inserted in upright posts for fencing" [Webster, 1830].

"small wading bird," mid-15c., from Old French raale (13c.), related to râler "to rattle," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative of its cry.


"complain," mid-15c., from Middle French railler "to tease or joke" (15c.), perhaps from Old Provençal ralhar "scoff, to chat, to joke," from Vulgar Latin *ragulare "to bray" (cf. Italian ragghiare "to bray"), from Late Latin ragere "to roar," probably of imitative origin. See rally (v.2). Related: Railed; railing.

"fence in with rails," late 14c., from rail (n.1). Related: Railed; railing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for railer



  1. A thin row of powdered narcotic to be sniffed; line: I snorted the rails that Hondo offered (1960s+ Narcotics)
  2. An elongated sort of competition hot rod (1970s+ Hot rodders)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with railer
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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