1580s, "hound or huntsman that follows a trail," agent noun from trail (v.). From 1610s as "something that trails." By 1890 as "vehicle pulled by another;" originally a small carriage drawn along by a bicycle.
The meaning "advertisement run alongside a motion picture" is attested by 1916; trailer as "length of blank film at the end of a reel" is by 1913. Trailer park "mobile home community" recorded by 1936. Derogatory trailer trash is in use by 1986.
updated on August 26, 2022