Share this entry

tram Line breaks: tram
(also tramcar)

Definition of tram in English:


1British A passenger vehicle powered by electricity conveyed by overhead cables, and running on rails laid in a public road.
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.
2 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 (denoting a shaft of a barrow; also in sense 2): 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 tramway was modelled; 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

am, Amsterdam, Assam, Bram, cam, cham, cheongsam, clam, cram, dam, damn, drachm, dram, exam, femme, flam, gam, glam, gram, ham, jam, jamb, lam, lamb, mam, mesdames, Omar Khayyám, Pam, pram, pro-am, ram, Sam, scam, scram, sham, Siam, slam, Spam, swam, tam, Vietnam, wham, yam

Definition of tram in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive