blaze a trail, to

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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

blaze a trail, to

To find a new path or begin a new enterprise. The term comes from the practice of marking a forest trail by making blazes, that is, spots or marks on trees made by notching or chipping away pieces of the bark. The term was first used in eighteenth-century America by scouts who marked new trails for the soldiers behind them, and was used figuratively from the late nineteenth century on.
See also: blaze
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
AT 73 YEARS OLD, GENE SAVOY CONTINUES TO BLAZE A TRAIL of enlightenment across the interior of Peru and beyond.
Brookside bosses aim to blaze a trail into the ratings with a red-hot family feud for their Christmas special.
In 1775 Boone and 28 others were hired to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap.