rail·​road | \ ˈrāl-ˌrōd, ˈrel-; ˈre-ˌrōd \

Definition of railroad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a permanent road having a line of rails fixed to ties and laid on a roadbed and providing a track for cars or equipment drawn by locomotives or propelled by self-contained motors also : such a road and its assets constituting a single property


railroaded; railroading; railroads

Definition of railroad (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to convict with undue haste and by means of false charges or insufficient evidence
b : to push through hastily or without due consideration
2 : to transport by railroad

intransitive verb

: to work for a railroad company

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Other Words from railroad


railroader noun

Synonyms for railroad

Synonyms: Noun

rail, railway, road

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Examples of railroad in a Sentence


that railroad hasn't been used for passenger trains for decades


a controversial law that is being railroaded through Congress a bill that was railroaded into law They claim she was railroaded.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Further roiling Oregon’s traditional political alignments and contributing to Klan growth was a series of strikes in 1922, by longshoremen and railroad workers, both vital to the state economy. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 As the New York Post first reported, the six-story Beaux Arts limestone townhouse once owned by the granddaughter of railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt is on the market for the first time in years. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Three People Were Injured in a Fire at Manhattan's Last Gilded Age Mansion," 11 Dec. 2018 At the spurs—small railroads that lead into or away from factories, sawmills, lumberyards, and packing houses—the trains stopped. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Hobo Hieroglyphs: Their Secret Symbols, Explained," 21 Nov. 2018 Where will the winding road (railroad track) take them? Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "Jughead's Dad Is Up to Something on Riverdale and It's Probably Totally Bad," 29 Nov. 2018 The job cuts will occur across the railroad network. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "Union Pacific to Lay Off Nearly 500 Workers," 23 Oct. 2018 The retailer took advantage of the nation’s extensive railroad network, as well as the Post Office’s Rural Free Delivery, to gain unprecedented reach. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "No single force brought down Sears, but the lessons are haunting," 16 Oct. 2018 Accidents are common on India's railroad network, one of the world's largest with 23 million people riding daily on about 11,000 passenger trains. Fox News, "Train hits school bus at India crossing, killing 12 children," 25 Apr. 2018 Longer term, TransitMatters called for eliminating the Needham line to cut down on congestion along the railroad network leading in and out Boston, replacing it by extending the Orange Line to West Roxbury and the Green Line to Needham. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "Commuter rail every 15 minutes? That’s one group’s vision," 28 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yet again, Nunes seems to be not just raising concerns about the FISA application, but suggesting a key player — in this case, Papadopoulos — is being railroaded. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "6 tortured arguments Republicans are making about the Nunes memo," 5 Feb. 2018 Jesse Daniels was railroaded to the state mental hospital at Chattahoochee, a wrong that sprawled over 14 years, even though the victim said she had been raped by a black man. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Beneath a Ruthless Sun': Fearless women, bizarre injustice," 8 May 2018 The amendments were disclosed on the eve of the committee vote, and railroaded through without any time for debate. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "A revamped California net neutrality bill is moving forward again," 5 July 2018 Some Democrats argued that Franken had been railroaded and that the complaints should have been fully investigated. Li Zhou, Vox, "A pro-abortion rights group is asking candidates if they’ve been accused of sexual harassment," 30 May 2018 But there are also concerns that the proposal is being railroaded through the approval process, with little thought about its impact on the reviving Riverside enclave or Penn Treaty Park. Inga Saffron, Philly.com, "Will a new riverfront concert venue close the gap between Fishtown and the Delaware - or widen it?," 28 June 2018 How, both ask, despite the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence, was Slater so obviously and badly railroaded? Sarah Weinman, The New Republic, "Arthur Conan Doyle, True Detective," 14 June 2018 Xiong, 37, of Milwaukee, violently crashed his minivan last summer, flying 100 feet in the air, and dropping another 30 from N. 76th St. to railroad tracks below, south of Brown Deer Road. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Driver gets prison for drunken crash that killed passenger after Milwaukee funeral," 17 May 2018 In each case, an out-of-control and/or politically motivated Justice Department had railroaded a conservative hero. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "A unified field theory of Donald Trump's pardons," 6 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of railroad


1757, in the meaning defined above


1829, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for railroad

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for railroad

The first known use of railroad was in 1757

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More Definitions for railroad



English Language Learners Definition of railroad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a system of tracks on which trains travel

: a company that owns and operates trains



English Language Learners Definition of railroad (Entry 2 of 2)

: to force (something) to be officially approved or accepted without much discussion or thought

: to convict (someone) of a crime unfairly

: to force (someone) into doing something quickly or without enough information


rail·​road | \ ˈrāl-ˌrōd \

Kids Definition of railroad

1 : a permanent road that has parallel steel rails that make a track for train cars
2 : a company that owns and operates trains

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Comments on railroad

What made you want to look up railroad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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