[ trav-ers, truh-vurs ]
See synonyms for: traversetraversedtraversingtraversable on

verb (used with object),trav·ersed, trav·ers·ing.
  1. to pass or move over, along, or through.

  2. to go to and fro over or along.

  1. to extend across or over: A bridge traverses the stream.

  2. to go up, down, or across (a rope, mountain, hill, etc.) at an angle: The climbers traversed the east face of the mountain.

  3. to ski across (a hill or slope).

  4. to cause to move laterally.

  5. to look over, examine, or consider carefully; survey; consider.

  6. to go counter to; obstruct; thwart.

  7. to contradict or deny.

  8. Law.

    • (in the law of pleading) to deny formally (an allegation of fact set forth in a previous pleading).

    • to join issue upon.

  9. to turn and point (a gun) in any direction.

verb (used without object),trav·ersed, trav·ers·ing.
  1. to pass along or go across something; cross: a point in the river where we could traverse.

  2. to ski across a hill or slope on a diagonal.

  1. to turn laterally, as a gun.

  2. Fencing. to glide the blade toward the hilt of the contestant's foil while applying pressure to the blade.

  1. the act of passing across, over, or through.

  2. something that crosses, obstructs, or thwarts; obstacle.

  1. a transversal or similar line.

  2. a place where one may traverse or cross; crossing.

  3. Architecture. a transverse gallery or loft of communication in a church or other large building.

  4. a bar, strip, rod, or other structural part placed or extending across; crosspiece; crossbar.

  5. a railing, lattice, or screen serving as a barrier.

  6. Nautical.

    • the zigzag track of a vessel compelled by contrary winds or currents to sail on different courses.

    • each of the runs in a single direction made in such sailing.

  7. Fortification.

    • a defensive barrier, parapet, or the like, placed transversely.

    • a defensive barrier thrown across the terreplein or the covered way of a fortification to protect it from enfilade fire.

  8. Gunnery. the horizontal turning of a gun so as to make it point in any required direction.

  9. Machinery.

    • the motion of a lathe tool or grinding wheel along a piece of work.

    • a part moving along a piece of work in this way, as the carriage of a lathe.

  10. Surveying. a series of intersecting surveyed lines whose lengths and angles of intersection, measured at instrument stations, are recorded graphically on a map and in numerical form in data tables.: Compare closed traverse.

  11. Law. a formal denial of some matter of fact alleged by the other side.

  1. lying, extending, or passing across; transverse.

Origin of traverse

First recorded in 1250–1300; (verb) Middle English traversen, from Middle French traverser ”to cross,” from Late Latin trānsversāre, derivative of Latin trānsversus (see trans-, versus); (noun) Middle English travers(e), from Middle French traverse (from Latin trānsversa “something lying across,” feminine of trānsversus ) and travers (from Latin trānsversum passage across, neuter of trānsversus )

Other words for traverse

Other words from traverse

  • tra·vers·a·ble, adjective
  • tra·vers·al, noun
  • tra·vers·er, noun
  • non·tra·vers·a·ble, adjective
  • re·trav·erse, verb, re·trav·ersed, re·trav·ers·ing.
  • un·tra·vers·a·ble, adjective
  • un·trav·ersed, adjective

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

How to use traverse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for traverse


/ (ˈtrævɜːs, trəˈvɜːs) /

  1. to pass or go over or back and forth over (something); cross

  2. (tr) to go against; oppose; obstruct

  1. to move or cause to move sideways or crosswise

  2. (tr) to extend or reach across

  3. to turn (an artillery gun) laterally on its pivot or mount or (of an artillery gun) to turn laterally

  4. (tr) to look over or examine carefully

  5. (tr) law to deny (an allegation of fact), as in pleading

  6. (intr) fencing to slide one's blade towards an opponent's hilt while applying pressure against his blade

  7. mountaineering to move across (a face) horizontally

  8. (tr) nautical to brace (a yard) fore and aft

  1. something being or lying across, such as a transom

  2. a gallery or loft inside a building that crosses it

  1. maths another name for transversal (def. 1)

  2. an obstruction or hindrance

  3. fortifications a protective bank or other barrier across a trench or rampart

  4. a railing, screen, or curtain

  5. the act or an instance of traversing or crossing

  6. a path or road across

  7. nautical the zigzag course of a vessel tacking frequently

  8. law the formal denial of a fact alleged in the opposite party's pleading

  9. surveying a survey consisting of a series of straight lines, the length of each and the angle between them being measured

  10. mountaineering a horizontal move across a face

  1. being or lying across; transverse

  1. an archaic word for across

Origin of traverse

C14: from Old French traverser, from Late Latin trānsversāre, from Latin trānsversus transverse

Derived forms of traverse

  • traversable, adjective
  • traversal, noun
  • traverser, noun

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