[ tran-suhm ]

  1. a crosspiece separating a door or the like from a window or fanlight above it.

  2. Also called transom light, transom window. a window above such a crosspiece.

  1. a crossbar of wood or stone, dividing a window horizontally.

  2. a window so divided.

  3. Nautical.

    • a flat termination to a stern, above the water line.

    • framework running athwartships in way of the sternpost of a steel or iron vessel, used as a support for the frames of the counter.

  4. Artillery. a metal piece connecting the sidepieces of the tail or the cheeks of a gun carriage.

Origin of transom

1325–75; late Middle English traunsum, traunsom,Middle English transyn, probably alteration (by association with trans-) of traversayn<Old French traversin crosspiece, derivative of travers breadth; see traverse

Other words from transom

  • transomed, adjective

Words Nearby transom Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use transom in a sentence

  • He had the Yankee body, lank and ribbed, and was so tall that his head seemed always looking over a transom.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
  • The transom was open, leaving an aperture of about three inches.

    Frank Merriwell's Pursuit | Burt L. Standish
  • Again Morgan lifted his eyes to the midnight orbs beyond the transom.

    Frank Merriwell's Pursuit | Burt L. Standish

British Dictionary definitions for transom


/ (ˈtrænsəm) /

  1. Also called: traverse a horizontal member across a window: Compare mullion

  2. a horizontal member that separates a door from a window over it

  1. the usual US name for fanlight

  2. nautical

    • a surface forming the stern of a vessel, either vertical or canted either forwards (reverse transom) or aft at the upper side

    • any of several transverse beams used for strengthening the stern of a vessel

Origin of transom

C14: earlier traversayn, from Old French traversin, from traverse

Derived forms of transom

  • transomed, adjective

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