One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1British A passenger vehicle powered by electricity conveyed by overhead cables, and running on rails laid in a public road.
- ‘The horse-drawn trams covered the distance in forty five minutes, and the faster steam trams took twenty five minutes.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Electric trams and buses and a new underground system would be the envy of many western cities.’
- ‘The developments will allow drivers to park their cars and to board trams.’
- ‘There are about 42 million trips a year on the existing tram network.’
- ‘Preston could have a tram network within a decade, according to council chiefs.’
- ‘(I caught a tram to work this morning and it only took 20 minutes!’
- ‘Locals use strips of tickets which they stamp on board the tram.’
- ‘The first step will be the upgrade of the existing line and purchase of new trams.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘He said: ‘Extending the tram network is something we support in principle.’’
- ‘Eight new trams are also to be brought onto the network as well as improvements for the disabled.’
- ‘A covered walkway will link the bus waiting area and tram stop platform.’
- ‘The collision happened as the tracks cross yards from the tram stop.’
- ‘All of which means the resort might as well build a new tram.’
- ‘She was born in 1899 when horse-drawn trams still trundled through the streets of Southampton.’
- ‘Bus tickets, tram passes, shopping lists, bits of paper - just like mine!’
- ‘Towns and cities considering tram schemes yesterday attacked Government indecision and demanded clear guidelines on what Ministers were prepared to pay for.’
- ‘London Mayor Ken Livingstone recently gave a provisional thumbs-up to a tram link extension to Crystal Palace.’
- ‘The 16-year-old girl boarded the tram in Manchester and travelled to Bury.’
2historical A low four-wheeled cart or barrow used in coal mines.
- ‘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 stone was placed on a small cart or flat tram and rolled under the frame and locked in place.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Paddy who was a former miner was delighted with the birthday cake, in the shape of an old tram full of coal.’
be on the wrong tram
informal Be pursuing an unproductive course of action.‘when you start gifting money to polluters you know you're on the wrong tram’
- ‘He is on the wrong tram regarding the astronomical amount he paid for the cricket.’
- ‘You are on the wrong tram as a leader if you don't file tax returns.’
- ‘Am I on the wrong tram, have I found myself on a sitcom, have I been pranked?’
- ‘His action is a lot more honourable than what she did—so this critic is on the wrong tram!’
- ‘You are on the wrong tram. This is not productive. We must move forward and put all this behind us.’
Early 16th century (denoting a shaft of a barrow; also in tram (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 tram (sense 1) (late 19th century).
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