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Synonym Chooser

How is the word trail distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of trail are chase, follow, and pursue. While all these words mean "to go after or on the track of something or someone," trail may stress a following of tracks or traces rather than a visible object.

trail deer
trailed a suspect across the country

When would chase be a good substitute for trail?

While in some cases nearly identical to trail, chase implies going swiftly after and trying to overtake something fleeing or running.

a dog chasing a cat

When is it sensible to use follow instead of trail?

The meanings of follow and trail largely overlap; however, follow puts less emphasis upon speed or intent to overtake.

friends followed me home in their car

Where would pursue be a reasonable alternative to trail?

The words pursue and trail can be used in similar contexts, but pursue suggests a continuing effort to overtake, reach, or attain.

pursued the criminal through narrow streets

Thesaurus Entries Near trail

Cite this Entry

“Trail.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on trail

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