Blaze A Trail | Phrase Definition, Origin & Examples

Interesting fact about Blaze A Trail

The term “Blaze a Trail” is believed to come from the mid-1770s, although it is entirely possible that the phrase was used before then. “Blazes” were notches or marks that were left on trees, indicating which way travelers should go to stick to a trail in the forest. Blazes are still used today to mark trails, with different markings that indicate different things. An early example can be seen in Dr. Thomas Walker’s 1750 Journal of Exploration: “I blazed a way from our house to the River and I blazed several trees in the fork and marked T.W. on a sycamore tree.” A later article from a November 1883 edition of Montana newspaper The Helena Independent uses the phrase precisely: “The merchants thereupon, desirous of securing the trade of the new mines, offered the stranger $100 if he would blaze a trail through, and afterwards it could be cleared sufficiently for pack animals to pass along.”

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