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[trav-uh l] /ˈtræv əl/
verb (used without object), traveled, traveling or (especially British) travelled, travelling.
to go from one place to another, as by car, train, plane, or ship; take a trip; journey:
to travel for pleasure.
to move or go from one place or point to another.
to proceed or advance in any way.
to go from place to place as a representative of a business firm.
to associate or consort:
He travels in a wealthy crowd.
Informal. to move with speed.
to pass, or be transmitted, as light or sound.
Basketball. walk (def 9).
to move in a fixed course, as a piece of mechanism.
verb (used with object), traveled, traveling or (especially British) travelled, travelling.
to travel, journey, or pass through or over, as a country or road.
to journey or traverse (a specified distance):
We traveled a hundred miles.
to cause to journey; ship:
to travel logs downriver.
the act of traveling; journeying, especially to distant places:
to travel to other planets.
  1. journeys; wanderings:
    to set out on one's travels.
  2. journeys as the subject of a written account or literary work:
    a book of travels.
  3. such an account or work.
the coming and going of persons or conveyances along a way of passage; traffic:
an increase in travel on state roads.
  1. the complete movement of a moving part, especially a reciprocating part, in one direction, or the distance traversed; stroke.
  2. length of stroke.
movement or passage in general:
to reduce the travel of food from kitchen to table.
used or designed for use while traveling:
a travel alarm clock.
Origin of travel
1325-75; Middle English (north and Scots), orig. the same word as travail (by shift “to toil, labor” > “to make a laborious journey”)
Related forms
travelable, adjective
nontraveling, adjective
nontravelling, adjective
outtravel, verb (used with object), outtraveled, outtraveling or (especially British) outtravelled, outtravelling.
pretravel, noun, verb, pretraveled, pretraveling or (especially British) pretravelled, pretravelling.
untraveling, adjective
untravelling, adjective
Usage note
The word travel has come to exemplify a common spelling quandary: to double or not to double the final consonant of a verb before adding the ending that forms the past tense (–ed) or the ending that forms the present-participle (–ing.) We see it done both ways—sometimes with the same word (travel, traveled, traveling; travel, travelled, travelling). As readers, we accept these variations without even thinking about them. But as writers, we need to know just when we should double that final consonant and when we should not. Because American practice differs slightly from British practice, there is no one answer. But there are well-established conventions.
In American writing, when you have a one-syllable verb that ends with a single vowel followed by a single consonant, and you want to add a regular inflectional ending that begins with a vowel, you double that final consonant before adding -ed or -ing: stop, stopped, stopping; flag, flagged, flagging. This principle also holds for verbs of more than one syllable if the final syllable is stressed: permit, permitted, permitting; refer, referred, referring. If that syllable is not stressed, there is no doubling of the final consonant: gallop, galloped, galloping; travel, traveled, traveling.
British spelling conventions are similar. They deviate from American practices only when the verb ends with a single vowel followed by an l. In that case, no matter the stress pattern, the final l gets doubled. Thus British writing has repel, repelled, repelling (as would American writing, since the final syllable is stressed). But it also has travel, travelled, travelling and cancel, cancelled, cancelling, since in the context of British writing the verb’s final l, not its stress pattern, is the determining factor. Verbs ending in other consonants have the same doubling patterns that they would have in American writing. An outlier on both sides of the Atlantic is the small group of verbs ending in -ic and one lonely -ac verb. They require an added k before inflectional endings in order to retain the appropriate “hard” sound of the letter c: panic, panicked, panicking; frolic, frolicked, frolicking; shellac, shellacked, shellacking. Canadians, of course, are free to use either British or American spellings. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for travel


verb (mainly intransitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to go, move, or journey from one place to another: he travels to improve his mind, she travelled across France
(transitive) to go, move, or journey through or across (an area, region, etc): he travelled the country
to go, move, or cover a specified or unspecified distance
to go from place to place as a salesman: to travel in textiles
(esp of perishable goods) to withstand a journey
(of light, sound, etc) to be transmitted or move: the sound travelled for miles
to progress or advance
(basketball) to take an excessive number of steps while holding the ball
(of part of a mechanism) to move in a fixed predetermined path
(informal) to move rapidly: that car certainly travels
(often foll by with) (informal) to be in the company (of); associate
  1. the act of travelling
  2. (as modifier): a travel brochure, related adjective itinerant
(usually pl) a tour or journey
the distance moved by a mechanical part, such as the stroke of a piston
movement or passage
Word Origin
C14 travaillen to make a journey, from Old French travaillier to travail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for travel

late 14c., "to journey," from travailen (1300) "to make a journey," originally "to toil, labor" (see travail). The semantic development may have been via the notion of "go on a difficult journey," but it may also reflect the difficulty of going anywhere in the Middle Ages. Replaced Old English faran. Travels "accounts of journeys" is recorded from 1590s. Traveled "experienced in travel" is from early 15c. Traveling salesman is attested from 1885.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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