What Does Blaze a Trail Mean?

Blaze a Trail Meaning

Definition: To be the first to do something.

To blaze a trail is to do something that no other person has done before. Others may follow you in doing similar things because you were the first to accomplish a unique task.

You can blaze a trail by inventing something that others can use. You can also blaze a trail by being the first person to accomplish something. For example, Thomas Edison blazed the trail for indoor electrical lighting.

Origin of To Blaze a Trail

For trail hikers and pioneers of new land, a blaze is a mark left on a tree to show that it is a part of a path. State parks will often mark different trails by nailing up blazes that are different colors so that someone can choose to follow a blue trail, a red trail, or another.

Someone who literally blazes a trail is the first to go through that trail in the woods. They leave marks behind for others to follow.

blaze a trail definitionIn 1883, a newspaper from Montana included the following statement using the phrase blaze a trail for the first time,

  • The merchants thereupon, desirous of securing the trade of the new mines, offered the stranger $100 if he would blaze a trail through, and afterward it could be cleared sufficiently for pack animals to pass along.

Examples of To Blaze a Trail

Someone who accomplishes a task first is often called a trailblazer. Barack Obama, for example, blazed a trail for minority politicians by becoming the first African-American president of the United States, so he was a trailblazer.

blaze new trailsOthers can blaze a trail in smaller ways as well. If a student starts a new club at school, he is blazing a trail for others to follow because they will be able to join his club for years to come. A teacher could also blaze a trail for her students by leading them to do kind acts for others.

More Examples

  • Thanks to the film, Hopper helped blaze a trail for the young, aggressive filmmakers who would take Hollywood by storm in the 1970s. –CNN
  • Home to one of oldest lighthouses in Ireland, Skellig is set to blaze a trail to the future by harnessing solar power to fuel its ancient beam. –LA Times


The phrase to blaze a trail is to be the first do something that others can follow.