[tra-peez or, esp. British, truh-]
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  1. an apparatus, used in gymnastics and acrobatics, consisting of a short horizontal bar attached to the ends of two suspended ropes.
  2. (on a small sailboat) a device by which a crew member can be suspended almost completely outboard while hiking.

Origin of trapeze

1860–65; < French, special use of trapèze trapezium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for trapeze


  1. a free-swinging bar attached to two ropes, used by circus acrobats, etc
  2. a sling like a bosun's chair at one end of a line attached to the masthead of a light racing sailing boat, used in sitting out

Word Origin for trapeze

C19: from French trapèze, from New Latin; see trapezium
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

Word Origin and History for trapeze

1861, from French trapèze, from Late Latin trapezium (see trapezium), probably because the crossbar, the ropes and the ceiling formed a trapezium.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper