Pave the way= Blaze a trail?

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Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hello amigos!

Carmen Miranda blazed a trail for the Brazilians in Hollywood.
Carmen Miranda paved the way for the Brazilians in Hollywood.
Carmen Miranda was the trailblazer for the Brazilians in Hollywood.

Which one(s) fit(s) the best choice?


  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think they both say very similar things in different ways. To blaze a trail, I believe, means to light it so that others can follow it. To pave a way means to make a path easy to travel along. The latter seems to suggest a more permanent path, but I think you can take your pick.

    They are fairly idiomatic, but "the" would general be omitted before "Brazilians" in each case.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    I vote for "blazed a trail". I imagine she both blazed a trail and paved the way.
    But "blaze a trail" is surely so much more flamboyant?


    Senior Member
    With regard to Sam's suggestions, I think the first two are about equally natural and mean similar things. I usually hear the noun "trailblazer" used in very succinct sentences - "he's a real trailblazer" - but not in an expression like "...the trailblazer for..."

    To those who are understandably trying to associate "trailblazing" with setting things on fire, I have a slightly different idea about the origin of "blaze" with regard to a trail. Here's what the OED has to say about it:
    2. transf. A white mark made on a tree, generally by chipping off a slice of bark, to indicate a path or boundary in a forest; also a track indicated by a line of such marks. (First in U.S.) Also attrib. in blaze-mark.
    So it does not necessarily involve lighting (or buring down:eek:) the trail, just marking it enough so that it can be followed again.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I have been familiar with the idea of trail blazes (marks on trees to indicate a path) since boyhood, and so it never occurred to me that anyone thought the word had anything to do with burning!

    The difference between blazing a trail and paving the way is that the person who blazes the trail is the very first to come through, and the trail that is indicated is still more than a little rugged. If one paves the way, though, one makes it easy for others to follow the route, which is now smooth.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    GWB said it well. Out here in Oregon, for example, our local professional basketball team is called the Portland Trail Blazers, named for those intrepid pioneers who first found their way through the monstrous forests of the Pacific Northwest.
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