First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Rail

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Rail mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Rail

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Rail
An outer cloak or covering; a neckerchief for women.

Etymology: OE. reil reȝel, AS. hrægel hrægl, a garment; akin to OHG. hregil, OFries. hreil

verb Rail
To flow forth; to roll out; to course.

Etymology: Etymol. uncertain

noun Rail
  1. A bar of timber or metal, usually horizontal or nearly so, extending from one post or support to another, as in fences, balustrades, staircases, etc.
  2. [Arch] A horizontal piece in a frame or paneling. See Illust. of Style.
  3. [Railroad] A bar of steel or iron, forming part of the track on which the wheels roll. It is usually shaped with reference to vertical strength, and is held in place by chairs, splices, etc.
  4. [Naut]
    1. The stout, narrow plank that forms the top of the bulwarks.
    2. The light, fencelike structures of wood or metal at the break of the deck, and elsewhere where such protection is needed.
  5. A railroad as a means of transportation; as, to go by rail; a place not accesible by rail .
  6. a railing.

Etymology: Akin to LG. & Sw. regel bar, bolt, G. riegel a rail, bar, or bolt, OHG. rigil rigel, bar, bolt, and possibly to E. row a line

verb Rail
  1. To inclose with rails or a railing."It ought to be fenced in and railed." [Ayliffe.]
  2. To range in a line.(Obs)"They were brought to London all railed in ropes, like a team of horses in a cart." [Bacon.]
noun Rail
Any one of numerous species of limicoline birds of the family Rallidæ, especially those of the genus Rallus, and of closely allied genera. They are prized as game birds.

Note: ☞ The common European water rail (Rallus aquaticus) is called also bilcock skitty coot, and brook runner. The best known American species are the clapper rail, or salt-marsh hen (Rallus longirostris, var. crepitans); the king, or red-breasted, rail (Rallus elegans) (called also fresh-water marshhen); the lesser clapper, or Virginia, rail (Rallus Virginianus); and the Carolina, or sora, rail (Porzana Carolina). See Sora.

Etymology: F. râle, fr. râler to have a rattling in the throat; of German origin, and akin to E. rattle. See Rattle (v.)

verb Rail
To use insolent and reproachful language; to utter reproaches; to scoff; -- followed by at or against, formerly by on.

Etymology: F. railler; cf. Sp. rallar to grate, scrape, molest; perhaps fr. (assumed) LL. radiculare, fr. L. radere to scrape, grate. Cf. Rally to banter, Rase

verb Rail
  1. To rail at.(Obs)
  2. To move or influence by railing.(R)" Rail the seal from off my bond." [Shak.]
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Any of numerous widely distributed small wading birds of the family Rallidae having short wings and very long toes for running on soft mud
  2. A horizontal bar (usually of wood or metal)
  3. Short for railway ("he traveled by rail" and "he was concerned with rail safety")
  4. A barrier consisting of a horizontal bar and supports
  5. A bar or pair of parallel bars of rolled steel making the railway along which railroad cars or other vehicles can roll
  6. Criticize severely ("She railed against the bad social policies")
  7. Spread negative information about
  8. Complain bitterly
  9. Fish with a handline over the rails of a boat ("They are railing for fresh fish")
  10. Lay with rails ("hundreds of miles were railed out here")
  11. Travel by rail or train ("They railed from Rome to Venice")
  12. Convey (goods etc.) by rails ("fresh fruit are railed from Italy to Belgium")
  13. Separate with a railing ("rail off the crowds from the Presidential palace")
  14. Provide with rails ("The yard was railed")
  15. Enclose with rails ("rail in the old graves")

From Middle English rail, rayl, *reȝel, *reȝol (found in reȝolsticke (“a ruler”)), partly from Old English regol (“a ruler, straight bar”) and partly from Old French reille; both from Latin regula (“rule, bar”), from regere (“to rule, to guide, to govern”); see regular.

  1. A horizontal bar extending between supports and used for support or as a barrier; a railing.
  2. The metal bar that makes the track for a railroad.
  3. A railroad; a railway, as a means of transportation.
    We travelled to the seaside by .
    a small Scottish village not accessible by
  4. A horizontal piece of wood that serves to separate sections of a door or window.
  5. (surfing) One of the lengthwise edges of a surfboard.

French râle, Old French rasle. Compare Medieval Latin rallus. Named from its harsh cry, Vulgar Latin *rasculum, from Latin rādere (“to scrape”).

  1. Any of several birds in the family Rallidae.

From Middle French railler.

From Middle English rail, reil, from Old English hræġl (“agarment, dress, robe”). Cognate with Old Frisian hreil, reil, Old Saxon hregil, Old High German hregil (“clothing, garment, dress”).

  1. (obsolete) An item of clothing; a cloak or other garment; a dress.
  2. (obsolete) Specifically, a woman's headscarf or neckerchief.

Probably from Anglo-Norman raier, Middle French raier.

    rail was also found in the following language(s): Dutch, French, and Spanish

    Notable Persons Named Rail

    Rail Malikov is a soccer player for the AZAL PFK, FC Baku, Neftchi PFK, Denizlispor, Gabala SC, and Azerbaijan national football team. Rail was born on December 18th, 1985 in Baku.


    His military service ended in 43. Rail was born on March 10th, 1945 in Salyan District, Azerbaijan. He passed away on February 11th, 2009.


    Rail Rozakov is an athlete. He was most active from 1998 to 2009. Rail was born on March 29th, 1981 in Murmansk.


    Rail Zaripov is a soccer player for the FC KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny, FC Gazovik Orenburg, and FC Syzran-2003. Rail was born on May 25th, 1995.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name Rail

    Joanes was born on November 24th, 1958.


    Where is the name Rail popular?

    International Interest for Rail

    Interest is based how many people viewed this name from each country and is scaled based on the total views by each country so that large countries do not always show the most interest. Darker blue on the map indicates that people in the country are more likely to search for this name.

    Longer bars in the bar graph indicate that people in the country are more interested in the name. Not all countries that have shown an interest in the name are listed in the bar graph.

    United States
    United Kingdom
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    Popularity in the US

    View popular names by state or region.

    Popularity of Rail as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Rail as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in California, New York, or Michigan.

    Common first names for Rail

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Rail U.S.
      White 92.00% 64.26%
      African American 0.00% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.00% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 0.00% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 6.29% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Rail

    People with the last name Rail are most frequently White

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Rail

    • How Popular is the name Rail? As a last name Rail was the 58,042nd most popular name in 2010.
    • When was the first name Rail first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Rail is Tuesday, October 15th, 1895.
    • How unique is the name Rail? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Rail. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
    • Weird things about the name Rail: Your name in reverse order is Liar. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Rali. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Rail? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 350 people with the last name Rail.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Rail? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Rail as their last name since less than 1 person in 833k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

    What Rails Have Visited This Page?

    Name poster for Rail

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.