• synonyms


noun, plural tra·vois [truh-voiz] /trəˈvɔɪz/.
  1. a transport device, formerly used by the Plains Indians, consisting of two poles joined by a frame and drawn by an animal.
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Origin of travois

1840–50; Americanism; pseudo-French spelling of earlier travoy < North American French; compare Canadian French travail shaft of a cart to which the horse is hitched, French: frame in which unruly horses are held while they are shod (probably < Late Latin trepālium; see travail)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for travois

Historical Examples

  • Figs. 204 and 205 show the famous Indian mode of packing by travois.

    The Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft

    Dan Beard

  • “There are no travois, only mounted men, no women,” St. Antoine remarked.

    South from Hudson Bay

    E. C. [Ethel Claire] Brill

  • A dog could draw more on a travois, or pole-frame, than he could carry on his back.

    The Way to the West

    Emerson Hough

  • Whenever the camp moved the stone and travois were taken along.

  • At this point Blake joined Helen and Bill, and as he did so he espied the travois.

    The Orphan

    Clarence E. Mulford

British Dictionary definitions for travois


noun plural -vois (-ˈvɔɪz)
  1. a sled formerly used by the Plains Indians of North America, consisting of two poles joined by a frame and dragged by an animal
  2. Canadian a similar sled used for dragging logs
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Word Origin

from Canadian French, from French travail trave
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 travois


1847, said to be ultimately from a Canadian Indian pronunciation of travail.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper