trail

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Related to trailing: Trailing zeros, Trailing 12 Months

hit the sawdust trail

1. dated To accept, practice, or convert to Christianity at an evangelist's revival meeting, so as to find redemption, rehabilitation, or spiritual salvation. Alludes to sawdust-covered aisles of the temporary church dwellings for revival meetings in the early 1900s. Primarily heard in US. That travelling evangelist has been pleading for everyone in town to hit the sawdust trail, for he believes that the end is nigh. My friend, the only way you will find peace within yourself is by hitting the sawdust trail at our meeting place over yonder.
2. dated Of an itinerant evangelist preacher, to begin travelling to the next location where one will preach. ("Sawdust trail" is sometimes capitalized in this usage.) Primarily heard in US. Old Bill Baxton? Shoot, he's been hitting the Sawdust Trail for the better part of his life. He probably wouldn't be able to settle down in one place if he tried!
See also: hit, sawdust, trail

the sawdust trail

1. dated The path or journey to redemption or rehabilitation (as for a sinner or criminal) by accepting, practicing, or converting to Christianity at an evangelist revival meeting. Alludes to sawdust-covered aisles of the temporary church dwellings for revival meetings in the early 1900s. Primarily heard in US. That travelling evangelist has been pleading for everyone in town to hit the sawdust trail, for he believes that the end is nigh.
2. (sometimes capitalized) dated The itinerary of or route taken by a travelling evangelist preacher. Primarily heard in US. Old Bill Baxton? Shoot, he's been on the Sawdust Trail for the better part of his life. He probably wouldn't be able to settle down in one place if he tried!
See also: sawdust, trail

throw (someone) off the trail

To misdirect someone away from his or her point of pursuit; to steer someone's investigation or suspicions in the wrong direction. The mafia accountant had been throwing the authorities off the trail of the mob's money laundering for years. My husband has some suspicions about our affair, but the trip I'm taking for work will throw him off the trail.
See also: off, throw, trail

paper trail

Physical or digital documentation of a person's activities. The con artist wrote fraudulent checks all over the state, leaving a paper trail for police to follow. Frank swore that he wasn't using the company's computer for illegal activities, but the digital paper trail he left proved otherwise.
See also: paper, trail

blaze a trail

 
1. Lit. to make and mark a trail. The scout blazed a trail through the forest.
2. Fig. to do early or pioneering work that others will follow up on. Professor Williams blazed a trail in the study of physics.
See also: blaze, trail

hit the road

Fig. to depart; to begin one's journey, especially on a road trip; to leave for home. It's time to hit the road. I'll see you. We have to hit the road very early in the morning.
See also: hit, road

hit the trail

Inf. to leave. (As if one were hiking or riding a horse.) I have to hit the trail before sunset. Let's hit the trail. It's late.
See also: hit, trail

hot on the trail (of someone, some creature, or something)

Fig. very close to finding or catching up with someone, some creature, or something. I am hot on the trail of the book that I have been seeking for months.
See also: hot, on, trail

*on the trail (of someone or something)

 and *on the track of someone or something
seeking someone or something; about to find someone or something. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) I'm on the trail of a new can opener that is supposed to be easier to use. I spent all morning on the track of a vendor who can meet our requirements.
See also: on, trail

*paper trail

Fig. a series of records that is possible to examine to find out the sequence of things that happen. (*Typically: have ~; leave ~; make ~.) The legal department requires all these forms so that there is a paper trail of all activity.
See also: paper, trail

put someone off the track

 and put someone off the trail
to cause someone to lose a trail that is being followed. (See also put someone off the scent; throw someone off the track.) A distraction put me off the track and I almost got lost in the jungle. I was following an escaped convict and something put me off the trail.
See also: off, put, track

trail (along)

 (after someone or something)
1. to drag along after someone or something. His pants were torn, and a piece of his trouser leg trailed along after him. His trouser leg trailed after him.
2. to follow along after someone or something. A little dog trailed along after Mary and Karen. Is that your dog trailing along?

trail behind

 (someone or something)
1. to follow or drag along behind someone or something. A long satin train trailed behind the bride. A long train trailed behind.
2. to move along behind someone or a group in a competition. Sally trailed behind the rest of the marathon runners. Roger trailed behind Dave during most of the race.
See also: behind, trail

trail off

 and trail away
to fade away, as with speech, words, singing, etc. Her voice trailed off as she saw who was waiting at the door. Ken's words trailed away as he passed out.
See also: off, trail

trail over something

to lie behind, flowing out over something. Her long gown trailed over the marble floor. The flowering vine trailed over the wall, making a lovely little garden area.
See also: trail

trail someone or something by something

to have a smaller score than someone or something by a specific number of points. Our team trails the visiting team by only six points. I trailed her by only a few points.
See also: trail

hit the road

to begin traveling I'd love to stay longer, but it's really time to hit the road.
See also: hit, road

blaze a trail

to do something different The hospital has blazed a trail in children's care by giving them many things to do and allowing visitors at any hour.
See also: blaze, trail

trail off

also trail away
to become quieter His voice trailed off weakly and we could not hear the rest of what he said. The wail of the sirens finally trailed away almost completely.
See also: off, trail

blaze a trail

to do something that no-one has done before, especially something which will be important for other people The hospital has blazed a trail in developing new techniques for treating infertility.
See also: blaze, trail

hit the road

to start a journey It's getting late - I'd better hit the road.
See also: hit, road

a paper trail

  (American & Australian)
documents which show what someone has been doing He was easy to find, he left a paper trail a mile wide.
See also: paper, trail

blaze a trail

Find a new path or method; begin a new undertaking. For example, His research blazed a trail for new kinds of gene therapy. This expression was first used literally in the 18th century for the practice of marking a forest trail by making blazes, that is, marking trees with notches or chips in the bark. [Late 1800s]
See also: blaze, trail

hit the road

Also, hit the trail. Set out, as on a trip. For example, Come on, it's time to hit the road, or Jack hit the trail at dawn. [Late 1800s]
See also: hit, road

trail off

v.
To become gradually fainter; dwindle: The writer's prolific output trailed off as the years went by.
See also: off, trail

hit the road

tv. to leave; to begin to travel on a road. (see also smack the road.) Let’s hit the road. We have a long way to go.
See also: hit, road

hit the trail

tv. to leave. (As if one were riding a horse.) I have to hit the trail before sunset.
See also: hit, trail

hit the road

Slang
To set out, as on a trip; leave.
See also: hit, road
References in classic literature ?
As they drew nearer, and I watched the rising and sinking of their forms, and beheld the uplifted right arm bearing above the water the girdle of tappa, and their long dark hair trailing beside them as they swam, I almost fancied they could be nothing else than so many mermaids--and very like mermaids they behaved too.
The lesser animal was trailing something rope-like that left a dark track on the path.
said the lama, smiling, and trailing a loop of it on the grass:
Then Tha gave an order to the trees that hang low, and to the trailing creepers of the Jungle, that they should mark the killer of the buck so that he should know him again, and he said, "Who will now be master of the Jungle People?
Beggars in their rags, and Kings trailing the regal purple in the dust; the Warrior's gleaming helmet; the Priest in his sable robe; the hoary Grandsire, who has run life's circle and come back to childhood; the ruddy School-boy with his golden curls, frisking along the march; the Artisan's stuff jacket; the Noble's star-decorated coat;--the whole presenting a motley spectacle, yet with a dusky grandeur brooding over it.
We steered due West ; but as the trailing of the buoys materially impeded our progress, and we had the balloon abundantly at command, either for ascent or descent, we first threw out fifty pounds of ballast, and then wound up (by means of a windlass) so much of the rope as brought it quite clear of the sea.
Memories of her hot, fluffy biscuits, baked chicken, apple pies and delicious coffee, carried trailing aromas that set his nostrils twitching.