Definition of tram in English:

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Pronunciation: /tram/
(also tramcar)


1British A trolley car.
Example sentences
  • Towns and cities considering tram schemes yesterday attacked Government indecision and demanded clear guidelines on what Ministers were prepared to pay for.
  • She pointed out that at present it takes only 20 minutes to get to Manchester by train from Rochdale, but would take longer by tram.
  • But we're also seeing lots more shoppers using the bus, tram and train as a convenient and welcome way of coming into our town.
2A cable car.
Example sentences
  • At night, sleep in heated domedgers on plains that evoke western Montana - sans ranchettes, ski trams, and fences.
  • With carefully planned lighting and paths, visitors explore this night zoo in trams and on footpaths.
  • Today there is a vast array of shops located at the parking lot, from which a tram provides optional transportation to the site about a quarter-mile distant.
3 historical A low four-wheeled cart or barrow used in coal mines.
Example sentences
  • Paddy who was a former miner was delighted with the birthday cake, in the shape of an old tram full of coal.
  • We were then issued rubber boots and hard hats and were taken several thousand feet into the mine, where we got off the tram to look at one of the orebodies.
  • The tram was built to carry coal from the immediately adjacent coal mine to a row of beehive coking ovens and thence to the smelter furnaces.


Early 16th century (sense 3): from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch trame 'beam, barrow shaft'. In the early 19th century the word denoted the parallel wheel tracks used in a mine, on which the public streetcar system was modeled; hence sense 1 (late 19th century).

  • This is a borrowing from Dutch of a word for a shaft or beam, and was first used for the shafts of a cart or barrow, and then for barrow-like devices used in coal mines. In the early 19th century the word was used for the parallel wheel tracks used in a mine, on which the public tramway was modelled; hence the word's use for the passenger vehicle itself.

Words that rhyme with tram

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For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tram

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