All Words Glossary

Glossary of Railroad Terms
beginning with letter D
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deadhead Tweet Definition of deadhead Like Definition of deadhead on Facebook
  1. A person either admitted to a theatrical or musical performance without charge, or paid to attend
    • 1901 R. J. Broadbent, A History of Pantomime
    • :Among the Romans.... The free admission tickets were small ivory death's heads, and specimens of these are to be seen in the Museum of Naples. From this custom, it is stated, that we derive our word "Deadhead," as denoting one who has a free entrance to places of amusement.
      1. An employee of a transportation company, especially a pilot, traveling as a passenger for logistical reasons, for example to return home or travel to their next assignment.
    • 2002, w:Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg, w:Catch Me if You Can, Catch Me If You Can,
    • :Are you my to Miami?
      1. Anyone traveling for free.
    • 1873, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age, Part 4.
    • :With the check came two through tickets"good on the railroad from Hawkeye to Washington via New York"and they were "deadhead" tickets, too, which had been given to Senator Dilworthy by the railway companies. Senators and representatives were paid thousands of dollars by the government for traveling expenses, but they always traveled "deadhead" both ways, and then did as any honorable, high-minded men would naturally do"declined to receive the mileage tendered them by the government. The Senator had plenty of railway passes, and could. easily spare two to Laura"one for herself and one for a male escort.
    • 1882, Bret Harte, Found At Blazing Star
    • :I reckon I won't take the vote of any passenger.
    • 1904, Gideon Wurdz, The Foolish Dictionary
    • :PASSENGER One who does not travel on a pass. (Antonym for Deadhead). From Eng. pass, to go, and Grk. endidomi, to give up. One who has to give up to go.
    • 1908, Wallace Irwin, The Love Sonnets of a Car Conductor
    • :The yap that kicks and rings a call
    • :Must either spend or else get off the car.
      1. A train or truck moved between cities with no passengers or freight, in order to make it available for service
      2. A person staying at a lodging, such as a hotel or boarding house, without paying rent; freeloader.
    • 1872, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr, The Poet At The Breakfast Table
    • :For the Caput mortuum (or , in vulgar phrase) is apt to be furnished with a Venter vivus, or, as we may say, a lively appetite.
    • 1922, Rex Beach, Flowing Gold
    • :Haviland had a sense of humor; it would make a story too good to keep--the new oil operator, the magnificent and mysterious New York financier, a "deadhead" at the Ajax. Oh, murder!
      1. A stupid or boring person; dullard
    • 1967, w:James Jones (author), James Jones, Go to the Widow-Maker, Delacorte Press (1967), 72,
    • : "Listen, you two deadheads," he growled at them, more viciously energetic than he meant, and both turned to stare. He softened his tone. "What's going on here, anyway? What kind of a morgue is this? Is this any way to spend my last four days in town? Come on, let's all go out and do something."
      1. (slang) Driftwood.
      2. (slang) A fan of the rock band the w:Grateful Dead, Grateful Dead.
  1. (intransitive) To travel as a deadhead, or non-paying passenger.
  2. (context, transitive, intransitive) To drive an empty vehicle.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 845:
    • :Kit had fallen into conversation with a footplate man who was deadheading back out to Samarkand, where he lived with his wife and children.
      1. (transitive) To send (a person or message) for free.
    • 1873, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age, Part 4.
    • :Washington suggested that she get some old friend of the family to come with her, and said the Senator would "deadhead" him home again as soon as he had grown tired, of the sights of the capital.
    • 1910, Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin, Edison, His Life and Inventions
    • :He said that if the operator had taken $800 and sent the message at the regular rate, which was twenty-five cents, it would have been all right, as the Jew would be punished for trying to bribe a military operator; but when the operator took the $800 and then sent the message , he couldn't stand it, and he would never relent.
    • 1934, Lester Dent (as Kenneth Robeson), Brand Of The Werewolf, A Doc Savage Adventure
    • :"I'll the message for you, Mr. Savage. It won't cost a thing."
      1. (transitive) To remove spent or dead blossoms from a plant.
      If you your roses regularly, they will bloom all season.
depot Tweet Definition of depot Like Definition of depot on Facebook
  1. a warehouse or similar storage facility
  2. a bus or railway station
  3. a place where military recruits are assembled before being sent to active units
derail Tweet Definition of derail Like Definition of derail on Facebook
  1. (intransitive) To come off the tracks.
    • The train was destroyed when it was derailed by the penny.
      1. (intransitive) To deviate from the previous course or direction.
    • The conversation derailed once James brought up politics.
      1. (transitive) To cause to deviate from a set course or direction.
      The protesting students derailed the professor's lecture.
detrain Tweet Definition of detrain Like Definition of detrain on Facebook
  1. To exit from a train; to disembark
If you plan to at the next stop, please begin gathering your belongings.
  1. For an athlete, to reduce one's training, particularly during the offseason, in preparation for a cycle of retraining.
diner Tweet Definition of diner Like Definition of diner on Facebook
  1. someone who dines; one who eats a meal, especially dinner
When it comes to Chinese food I have always operated under the policy that the less known about the preparation the better. A wise who is invited to visit the kitchen replies by saying, as politely as possible, that he has a pressing engagement elsewhere. –Calvin Trillin
  1. a small and inexpensive type of restaurant which is modelled to resemble a dining car
  2. a railroad dining car
The is everybody's kitchen. –Richard Gutman
ditch Tweet Definition of ditch Like Definition of ditch on Facebook
  1. A trench; a long, shallow indentation, as for irrigation or drainage.
Digging ditches has long been considered one of the most arduous forms of manual labor.
verb (ditches, ditching, ditched)
  1. To discard or abandon.
Once the sun came out we ditched our rain-gear and started a campfire.
  1. To deliberately crash-land an airplane on the sea.
When the second engine failed, the pilot was forced to ; their last location was just south of the Azores.
  1. To deliberately not attend classes; to play hookey.
The truant officer caught Louise ditching with her friends, and her parents were forced to pay a fine.
Dolly Tweet Definition of Dolly Like Definition of Dolly on Facebook
proper noun
  1. (given name, female), diminutive of Dorothy, and later also of Dolores.
dome Tweet Definition of dome Like Definition of dome on Facebook
  1. A common structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere.
  2. Anything shaped like an upset bowl, often used as a cover, e.g. a cake .
doubleheader Tweet Definition of doubleheader Like Definition of doubleheader on Facebook
  1. A train with two engines, (before it became a baseball term).
  2. (baseball) Two games played on the same day between the same teams.
drawing room Tweet Definition of drawing room Like Definition of drawing room on Facebook
  1. (British) a multi functional room that can be used for any purpose in a palace or castle
  2. (British) any room where visitors may be entertained; now, the living room
    1. a private room on a railroad sleeping car
driver Tweet Definition of driver Like Definition of driver on Facebook
  1. a person who has a license to legally drive a motorized vehicle, such as a car or a bus
  2. a person who drives some other vehicle
  3. (computing) a special program that acts as an interface between the application program and the computer hardware. Drivers are written specifically for the hardware device they control.
driving wheel Tweet Definition of driving wheel Like Definition of driving wheel on Facebook
  1. On a steam locomotive, a powered wheel driven by the locomotive's pistons or turbine.
dynamometer car Tweet Definition of dynamometer car Like Definition of dynamometer car on Facebook
  1. A piece of railway rolling stock used to measure various aspects of a locomotive's performance

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