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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.
Origin of trawl
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 trawl
Historical Examples
  • As the weather was remarkably fine for these latitudes we decided to lower the trawl.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Next they turned their attention to picking the trawl already in the water.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • The bow pulley in each dory fairly chuckled with delight as the trawl line was pulled over it.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • He had seen enough to realize that pulling a trawl was no sinecure.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • Out on the shoal he was a silent but interested spectator while the trawl was being pulled and the fish taken aboard.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • She ran up alongside the Barracouta, where the boys were baiting their trawl.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • Here the Frenchman let down his trawl, and fished up, among other curiosities of the deep, the submarine cable!

    The Battery and the Boiler R.M. Ballantyne
  • He was soon unhooking hake and coiling the trawl into its tub.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • Happily, the trawl slid off the hull, and the danger passed.

  • If the night is clear you can sleep, except when the trawl is being got up.

    For Name and Fame G. A. Henty
British Dictionary definitions for trawl


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 trawl

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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trawl in Technology

To sift through large volumes of data (e.g. Usenet postings, FTP archives, or the Jargon File) looking for something of interest. [Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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