a wave in which the direction of displacement is perpendicular to the direction of propagation, as a surface wave of water.
Why Are We Calling Everything A “Wave”?Why have so many waves found their way into our cultural lexicon in recent years? In this article, the first in the column Mincing Metaphors, we unpack this oceanic metaphor to better understand what it means and why it’s proving so useful right now.
Compare longitudinal wave.
Origin of transverse wave
First recorded in 1920–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for transverse wave
a wave, such as an electromagnetic wave, that is propagated in a direction perpendicular to the direction of displacement of the transmitting field or mediumCompare longitudinal wave
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
Science definitions for transverse wave
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.