rail

Definitions

General English

Construction

  • A horizontal member supported by vertical posts, e.g., a handrail along a stairway.
  • A horizontal piece of wood, framed into vertical stiles, such as in a paneled door.
  • track used to direct or control the path of a vehicle or device.

Electronics

  • A metal rail that passes through a component, device, or piece of equipment, delivering power. Also called power supply rail, or power rail.

Military

  • noun one of many long metal bars, which are fitted together to form a railway line
  • noun transport by train

Real Estate

  • noun a long horizontal or sloping piece of wood, metal or other material that is used as a barrier or support
  • noun a structure made of a rail and its supports, e.g. a fence
  • verb to put a rail on or around something to provide a guard, barrier or support

Slang

  • noun a line of cocaine

Origin & History of “rail”

English has three words rail. The oldest, ‘rod, bar’ (13th c.), comes via Old French reille ‘iron bar’ from Latin rēgula ‘straight stick, rod’, source of English regular and rule. The bird-name rail (15th c.) goes back via Old Northern French raille to vulgar Latin *rascula, which probably originated in imitation of the bird’s hoarse cry. And rail ‘complain, be abusive’ (15th c.) comes via Old French railler ‘mock’ and Provençal ralhar ‘scoff’ from Vulgar Latin *ragulāre ‘bray’, an alteration of ragere ‘neigh, roar’. this in turn was a blend of Latin rugīre ‘bellow’ and Vulgar Latin *bragere ‘bray’ (source of English bray (13th c.)). Raillery (17th c.) and rally ‘tease’ (17th c.) come from the same source.
http://www.dictionarycentral.com/definition/rail.html