derail

verb de·rail \ di-ˈrāl , dē- \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

Definition of derail

transitive verb
1 : to cause to run off the rails
2 a : to obstruct the progress of : frustrate
  • security problems derailed the tour
b : to upset the stability or composure of
  • divorce … can seriously derail an employee
  • —Joanne Gordon
intransitive verb
: to leave the rails

derailment

play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of derail in a Sentence

  1. The train derailed in heavy snow.

  2. The train was derailed by heavy snow.

Recent Examples of derail from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of derail

French dérailler to throw off the track, from dé- de- + rail, from English


DERAIL Defined for English Language Learners

derail

verb

Definition of derail for English Language Learners

  • of a train : to leave its tracks

  • : to cause (a train) to leave its tracks


DERAIL Defined for Kids

derail

verb de·rail \ di-ˈrāl \

Definition of derail for Students

derailed; derailing
1 : to leave or cause to leave the rails
  • The train derailed.
2 : to make progress or success difficult for
  • Injuries derailed his plan for a championship.


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