a wave in which the direction of displacement is perpendicular to the direction of propagation, as a surface wave of water.
Compare longitudinal wave.
Origin of transverse wave
First recorded in 1920–25
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A wave that oscillates perpendicular to the axis along which the wave travels. Electromagnetic waves are transverse waves, since the electric and magnetic fields oscillate at a right angle to the direction of motion. Waves in bodies of water are also transverse waves, since the molecules of water oscillate up and down perpendicular to the direction of the wave's motion. Compare longitudinal wave. See more at wave.
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