trail off

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trail off

To dwindle, diminish, or fade away; to become fainter or weaker. Used especially, though not exclusively, in reference to speech or music. He started talking about the tax code, but trailed off when he realized no one was listening. The music from the radio trailed off as the car got farther from the house. The company's innovative ideas gave birth to a huge range of devices, but seem to have started trailing off in recent years.
See also: off, 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 off

v.
To become gradually fainter; dwindle: The writer's prolific output trailed off as the years went by.
See also: off, trail
References in classic literature ?
Snagsby trails off into saying, with an awkward cough, "I must ask you to excuse the liberty, sir, I am sure."
'And ex--' But Twemlow, in his demolished state, cannot command the word, and trails off into '--actly so.'
In many places, protagonist AdriA 's inner dialogue trails off into moments of such sincere and beautiful language that it leaves trails, bouncing off of itself in an effortless kind of stream of consciousness that seems to be uniquely Rodoreda's.
Her voice suddenly trails off and she staggers backwards before losing consciousness and hitting her head on the set behind her.
Seducing with whispers of sweet nothings, "I Have to Buy New Shoes" follows a casual fling that trails off on a wistful note and leaves one with an unquenchable longing.
It ends ominously, with Murray asking Jackson if he is OK after his voice trails off.
..." he trails off. Though he enjoys performing, Dowling doubts he'll be doing it again anytime soon: "It's just too hard to run the theatre and perform--this is a special one-time deal!"
And so, just as federal stimulus package spending trails off, city fiscal dynamics could well place a serious drag on economic recovery.
The Foley Ridge Trail remains closed because of downed trees, but all trails off Forest Road 19 are clear, he said.
Elmer Ream found the signs as he was walking through the trails off Kimball Lane.
No less than six exclamation marks all in a row--the literary equivalent of a time-stretched vocal that trails off into silence, because, of course, the image remains inaccessible to us, cultishly sealed within another medium.
Like the films it parodies, it starts well but trails off, but unlike other similar books, it is quite funny.
..." His statement trails off, or gets cut off by Lowry, but the point is unmistakable.