Third rail
Third rail Third rail (Electric Railways) (a) The third rail used in the third-rail system. (b) An electric railway using such a rail. [Colloq.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • third rail — The third rail of something is dangerous to alter or change. Originally, the third rail is the one carrying the electricity for a train …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • third´-rail´ — third rail, a rail paralleling the ordinary rails of a railroad. It carries a powerful electric current and is used on some railroads instead of an overhead wire. The power is picked up by a device (shoe) that extends out from the locomotive or… …   Useful english dictionary

  • third rail — third′ rail′ n. rai a rail in an electrified railroad that provides current to a car or locomotive • Etymology: 1865–70, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • third rail — ☆ third rail n. an extra rail used in some electric railways, instead of an overhead wire, for supplying power …   English World dictionary

  • Third rail — For other uses, see Third rail (disambiguation). Third rail at the West Falls Church Metro station near Washington, D.C., electrified at 750 volts. The third rail is at the top of the image, with a white canopy above it. The two lower rails… …   Wikipedia

  • third rail — noun a rail through which electric current is supplied to an electric locomotive • Hypernyms: ↑track, ↑rail, ↑rails, ↑runway * * * noun : a metal rail through which current is led to the motors of an electric locomotive compare running rail * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • third rail —    The third rail of something is dangerous to alter or change. Originally, the third rail is the one carrying the electricity for a train.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • third rail — noun a) The electrified rail that runs besides, or between train tracks to power electric trains. Social security is the third rail of American politics: touch it and your political career dies. b) anything that is dangerous to come into contact… …   Wiktionary

  • third rail — Railroads. 1. a rail laid parallel and adjacent to the running rails of an electrified railroad to provide electric current to the motors of a car or locomotive through contact shoes. 2. an additional running rail laid on the same ties as the two …   Universalium

  • third rail — noun Date: 1888 1. a metal rail through which electric current is led to the motors of an electric vehicle (as a subway car) 2. a controversial issue usually avoided by politicians …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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