blaze the/a trail

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blaze the/a trail

1. Literally, to create a trail by clearing trees and vegetation or simply by marking trees. Does anyone know who blazed the trail through these woods back in the 18th century?
2. By extension, to be the first to do something, often that which is later emulated or built upon by others. I hope that the rest of my family will move to the West Coast if I blaze the trail and relocate there first. The forefathers of medicine blazed a trail for today's doctors.
See also: blaze, trail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

blaze a trail

or

blaze the trail

COMMON If someone blazes a trail or blazes the trail, they are the first person to do or discover something new and important, and this makes it easier for other people to do the same thing. With his first book Parker has blazed a new trail in American literature. The party is blazing the trail for the advancement of women in politics. Note: You can use trail-blazing to describe someone who does something new and important or to describe the thing that they do. Many companies are happy to follow in the shadow of a trail-blazing competitor. This trail-blazing study went into immense detail on the habits of pub-goers. Note: People or organizations who act like this can be called trail-blazers and what they do is called trail-blazing. They are trail-blazers who took on a man's world and made it theirs. Despite all his trail-blazing, he spent most of his life looking back to the works of Chaucer and Edmund Spenser. Note: New trails or routes through forests were often marked by `blazing', which involved making white marks called `blazes' on tree trunks, usually by chipping off a piece of bark.
See also: blaze, trail
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

blaze a trail

be the first to do something and so set an example for others to follow.
Blaze in this sense comes ultimately from an Old Norse noun meaning ‘a white mark on a horse's face’. In its literal sense, blazing a trail refers to the practice of making white marks on trees by chipping off bits of their bark, thereby indicating your route to those who are following you.
See also: blaze, trail
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Why was it left to the Crusaders to blaze the trail - on a base of zero junior clubs - while the infinitely stronger Union remained largely absent from the region that produced George North?
The daughter of Haydock Sprint Cup winner Invincible Spirit, Howard Johnson's charge has speed in her pedigree, so Frederik Tylicki will be looking to blaze the trail from stall seven and could make the frame at attractive odds.
"We were looking for a leader in sales who could blaze the trail for hydrogen and alternative fuel engines, and are excited to have found a professional with such a rich business development and engine background as Joe."
FIRE Dragon can blaze the trail for Jonjo O'Neill at Cheltenham today.
"We should blaze the trail," said Frank Galluzzo, director, G-5 (Distribution Analysis Center).
LEADERS Hare & Hounds continue to blaze the trail in the Nuneaton Wednesday Night Games League and an 11-3 slamming of Anker Inn strengthens their grip at the head of the championship table.
Trust You Oliver will blaze the trail from his ten-yard start but is unlikely to have enough in reserve to trouble the selection.