General English

  • verb to search something large in order to get something

General Science

  • noun a very long net with a wide mouth tapering to a pointed end, towed behind a fishing boat at any depth in the sea

Information & Library Science

  • noun a search for something, especially information
  • verb to search for something through a large amount of information or many possibilities

Origin & History of “trawl”

Trawl was probably borrowed from middle Dutch traghelen ‘drag’. this was a derivative of traghel ‘net pulled along behind a boat for catching fish’, which in turn came from Latin trāgula, a possible relative of trahere ‘pull’ (source of English tractor, treat, etc). Trāgula probably also lies behind English trail (14th c.).