What Does the Word “Sidetracked” Mean and Where Did the Term Come From?

Early railroads had only a single track between destinations.

Problems arose when a train was met by another going in the opposite direction or was about to be overtaken by a faster one.

This dilemma was solved with the creation of sidings, short lengths of track built parallel to the main line where one train could pull over while the other went by.

what does the word sidetracked mean and where did the term come from

The train had been “sidetracked,” meaning that, for a time at least, it wasn’t going anywhere.

We say someone diverted from a goal has been “sidetracked”.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.