Rail in different languages

Rail in Different Languages

Discover 'Rail' in 134 Languages: Dive into Translations, Hear Pronunciations, and Uncover Cultural Insights.

Updated on March 6, 2024

The word 'rail' holds immense significance in our daily lives, especially in the context of transportation and infrastructure. From the early days of steam-powered locomotives to the modern high-speed trains, rail systems have revolutionized the way we travel, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange on a global scale. Understanding the word 'rail' in different languages can open up new avenues of communication and appreciation for the rich tapestry of cultures around the world.

For instance, in Spanish, 'rail' is translated as 'vía férrea,' which literally means 'iron road.' In French, it becomes 'voie ferrée,' while in German, 'rail' is known as 'Schiene.' In each language, the term not only conveys the physical object but also encapsulates the broader concept of interconnectedness and progress that rail transportation represents.

In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of rail translations, exploring how various languages and cultures have adapted this essential term. Continue reading to discover the many faces of 'rail' in a global context.


Rail in Sub-Saharan African Languages

The Afrikaans word "spoor" also refers to the track or trail left by an animal.
ባቡር is used to refer to both a train and a camel in Amharic.
In Hausa, "dogo" means "rail" but it also refers to a mythical bird-like creature that brings news.
Igboụgbọ okporo ígwè
The Malagasy word "lalamby" can also mean "cradle" or "swing".
Nyanja (Chichewa)njanji
"Njanji" in Nyanja (Chichewa) is a word that refers to other meanings as well.
The word "njanji" can also refer to a type of traditional Shona drum.
The word "tareenka" also means "car" in Somali, which is likely a result of the early use of trains as a mode of transportation in Somalia.
While 'separo' primarily translates as rail, the term 'sesporo' in the Tswana language means a type of musical instrument.
In Swahili, 'reli' can also refer to a line of people or a sequence of events.
The word "kaloliwe" is an onomatopoeia, likely inspired by the sound of a train passing by.
The word "ojuirin" also means "a metal rod used for connecting two objects" in Yoruba.
The word "ujantshi" also refers to a small path or road in Zulu.
Kinyarwandagari ya moshi
Lingalanzela ya engbunduka
Lugandaeggaali y’omukka
Twi (Akan)keteke kwan

Rail in North African & Middle Eastern Languages

Arabicسكة حديدية
The word "سكة حديدية" also means "train track" in Arabic.
The Hebrew word 'רכבת' ('rail') also means 'train' or 'set of things strung together'.
The Pashto word "ریل" can also mean "line", "row", or "series" in addition to a rail or track.
Arabicسكة حديدية
The word "سكة حديدية" also means "train track" in Arabic.

Rail in Western European Languages

The Albanian word hekurudhor (rail) is derived from Turkish 'demir yol' (iron road)
The term "trenbidea" has also been applied to "road".
In Ecuadorian Spanish, "ferrocarril" can also refer to a "train" or "railway".
'Šina' can also refer to a medical support splint or a type of bread roll.
The Danish word "skinne" is likely derived from the Old Norse "skinna," meaning "to shine" or "to be thin like a blade of straw."
Dutchhet spoor
'Het spoor' ('rail') was originally a noun referring to a footprint or a trace and comes from the Proto-Germanic word 'spaurô', which also meant 'footprint' or 'track'.
The word 'rail' can also refer to a type of bird or a verb meaning 'to scold or complain'.
En français, le mot « rail » a aussi le sens de « raie » (poisson).
The Dutch word "spoor" and the German word "Spur" share the same etymology but have different meanings, which is also similar to the Frisian word "spoar".
In Galician, "ferrocarril" also refers to the train tracks themselves.
The German word "Schiene" (rail) is derived from the Middle Low German word "schēne" (leg), which also refers to a shinbone or splint, highlighting the supporting function of a rail.
The Icelandic word "járnbraut" literally means "iron road" and is derived from the Old Norse terms "járn" (iron) and "braut" (a paved road).
The word "iarnród" comes from the Irish words "iarn" (iron) and "ród" (road), and it can also refer to a railway line or a railway system.
"Rotaia" means not only a rail but also a track, a path or a way.
"Schinn" (rail) is cognate with Dutch "schijn" (appearance, illusion) and German "Schein" (glow, light, appearance).
The Maltese word 'ferrovija' is derived from the Italian word 'ferrovia', which in turn comes from the Latin word 'ferrum' (iron) and 'via' (way).
In Norwegian, "skinne" is derived from the Old English word "scinn" meaning "a beam of light" or "a shining object".
Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)trilho
The Portuguese word "trilho" is also used to describe a path or trail.
Scots Gaelicrèile
Rèile derives from the French word for 'rail' and can refer to either rails for train tracks or the common grassland bird, the corncrake.
In Spanish, "carril" also refers to the path of a ship in the water (a ship's "course")
"Järnväg" literally means 'iron way' in Swedish, and it can also refer to a railroad or railway line.
The word 'rheilffordd' in Welsh also refers to a 'horse tram' or 'horse-drawn railway'.

Rail in Eastern European Languages

The word "чыгуначны" in Belarusian comes from the Russian word "железнодорожный", which means "railway" or "railroad".
"Šina" can also mean "wire" when speaking about railroads, while "Željeznička pruga" means "the track"
The word "релса" in Bulgarian also means "track" or "line".
"Železnice" is derived from "železo" (iron) and "nice" (thread), referring to the intertwining of rails to form the track.
The verb 'raudteema' means 'to railroad' and the adjective 'raudteelane' means 'railwayman'.
Rautatie, a Finnish word meaning 'railway', derives from the Swedish word 'järnväg' ('iron road') from the 19th century.
The Hungarian word "vasút" literally means "iron road," referring to the use of iron rails in railway construction.
The word "sliede" can also mean "ski" or "skate" in Latvian.
The word "bėgiu" also means "I run" in the present tense.
The word "шина" can also refer to a tire or a busbar in Macedonian.
The word "szyna" originally meant a surgical splint and can also refer to a type of steel used in construction.
The word "feroviar" is derived from the Latin "ferrum" (iron) and "via" (way), referring to the iron rails used in railway construction.
The Russian word "рельс" also refers to a type of bird, the Siberian jay.
The word "шина" (rail) has a different meaning from the Russian word "шина" (tire).
The word "koľajnice" is derived from the Proto-Slavic word "*kolьjьnica", meaning "a track for wheels".
In Czech, the related word "železnice" also means "railway".
The word "залізничний" (rail) in Ukrainian is derived from the word "залізо" (iron) and historically referred to iron-plated roads.

Rail in South Asian Languages

রেল ('rail') can also mean 'bar' in Bengali, derived from the French word 'barre'.
"રેલવે" can also mean "railway" or "rail system" in English.
In some parts of India, "rail" can also refer to a kind of bullock cart.
The Kannada word 'ರೈಲು' not only means 'rail', but also 'train', highlighting the close association between the two concepts in the language.
The word "റെയിൽ" ("rail") in Malayalam can also refer to a type of bird known as the "rail".
The word 'রেল্বে' ('rail') also has other meanings like a series, line or track.
The word 'रेल' in Nepali can also refer to a 'row' or a 'line'
In Punjabi, the word "ਰੇਲ" can also mean "train" or "railway line".
Sinhala (Sinhalese)දුම්රිය
The Sinhalese word "දුම්රිය" (rail) is derived from the Sanskrit word "धूम" (smoke) likely denoting the use of steam engines in early railways
In Tamil, "ரயில்" (rail) can also refer to a small, wooden or bamboo frame used to wind thread or yarn.
"రైలు," in addition to the object of the sentence, could mean a "ladder," "chain," or "line".
The origin of Urdu word 'ریل' (rail) is the Arabic word 'ريل' (rail), which means 'a way or track'.

Rail in East Asian Languages

Chinese (Simplified)
The earliest form of 轨 was a measuring tool or rule with a fixed length.
Chinese (Traditional)
軌, a term used in ancient China to refer to the ruts created by the wheels of chariots or carts, has evolved to mean 'rail' in modern Chinese.
The word "レール" in Japanese can also refer to a "guideline" or "standard".
The word "레일" (rail) can also refer to a type of fence used to mark boundaries or designate paths.
Mongolianтөмөр зам
The Mongolian word “төмөр зам” (rail) literally means “iron road”.
Myanmar (Burmese)ရထားလမ်း

Rail in South East Asian Languages

The word "rel" in Indonesian also refers to a type of musical instrument known as a tambourine.
The word "ril" in Javanese is derived from the Malay word "rel" or Dutch word "rail", both meaning "rail".
The word "ផ្លូវដែក" comes from the Pali word "phalaka" meaning "board" or "plank". This is a reference to the wooden rails used in early railway lines.
"ລົດໄຟ" is derived from Sanskrit रथ (ratha), meaning "chariot". The term is also used in Thai, where it can refer to trains, trams, and streetcars.
Malaykereta api
"Kereta api" derives from Javanese and means "fire carriage".
In Thai, "ราง" is not only the word for "rail", but also has a homonym that means "prize money". The latter is likely derived from the shape of the wooden box (a "ราง") in which the winnings were traditionally stored.
Vietnameseđường sắt
Đường sắt is a Sino-Vietnamese compound word meaning "iron road," and the alternate meanings include "railway" and "train track."
Filipino (Tagalog)riles

Rail in Central Asian Languages

Azerbaijanidəmir yolu
The word "dəmir yolu" in Azerbaijani literally means "iron road" or "way", reflecting the material and structure of early railroads.
The word "рельс" (rail) in Kazakh also means "a pole or a stick used for supporting or pushing something".
Kyrgyzтемир жол
The word "темир жол" in Kyrgyz literally means "iron road"
Tajikроҳи оҳан
The word "роҳи оҳан" can also refer to a "railway" or "line" in Tajik.
Turkmendemir ýol
Uzbektemir yo'l
'Temir' means 'iron', while 'yo'l' means 'path' or 'way' in Uzbek, indicating that 'temir yo'l' originally referred to an 'iron path'.
Uyghurتۆمۈر يول

Rail in Pacific Languages

Hawaiiankaʻa hao
"Kaʻa hao" also refers to the bones in a human foot, the Hawaiian word "hao" meaning "leg bone".
Tereina can also refer to 'an inclined plane of short duration' (as a slope) from the word 'teri' meaning slant in older dialects.
The Samoan word "nofoaafi" also means "to sit upon something supporting one's back, as a fence."
Tagalog (Filipino)riles
The Tagalog word "riles" is cognate with the Indonesian word "rel" and the Malay word "ril" - all three meaning "rail".

Rail in American Indigenous Languages

Aymarariel ukata
Guaraniriel rehegua

Rail in International Languages

The word 'relo' in Esperanto can also refer to the 'movement of objects on wheels'.
Latinmetuunt blasphemantes
The word "metuunt" is also used to mean "fear" and "respect".

Rail in Others Languages

The word "ράγα" also means "rhythm" and "song" in Greek music.
Hmongkev tsheb ciav hlau
"Kev tsheb ciav hlau" literally translates to "iron horse's feet" because it refers to how the iron horseshoe-like shape of the rails supports moving wheels and keeps everything on a set path.
Kurdishhesinê tirêne
The word "hesinê tirêne" in Kurdish originates from the Persian word "hesin" meaning "horse" and the Turkish word "tira" meaning "pole".
Demiryolu literally means "iron path" in Turkish, reflecting its original use as a horse-drawn wagonway.
The word "kaloliwe" is an onomatopoeia, likely inspired by the sound of a train passing by.
The Yiddish word "רעלס" was derived from Polish "rejel" (rod) via Ukrainian "rel's".
The word "ujantshi" also refers to a small path or road in Zulu.
Aymarariel ukata
Bhojpuriरेल के बा
Dhivehiރޭލް އެވެ
Filipino (Tagalog)riles
Guaraniriel rehegua
Ilocanoriles ti riles
Kriorel we dɛn kɔl
Kurdish (Sorani)شەمەندەفەر
Meiteilon (Manipuri)ꯔꯦꯜ ꯂꯝꯕꯤꯗꯥ ꯆꯠꯂꯤ꯫
Mizorel kawng a ni
Odia (Oriya)ରେଳ
Tatarтимер юл

Click on a letter to browse words starting with that letter