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noun tra·verse \ˈtra-vərs also -ˌvərs, especially for 6 & 8 also trə-ˈ or tra-ˈ\

Definition of traverse

  1. 1 :  something that crosses or lies across

  2. 2 :  obstacle, adversity

  3. 3 :  a formal denial of a matter of fact alleged by the opposing party in a legal pleading

  4. 4a :  a compartment or recess formed by a partition, curtain, or screenb :  a gallery or loft providing access from one side to another in a large building

  5. 5 :  a route or way across or over: asa :  a zigzag course of a sailing ship with contrary windsb :  a curving or zigzag way up a steep gradec :  the course followed in traversing

  6. 6 :  the act or an instance of traversing :  crossing

  7. 7 :  a protective projecting wall or bank of earth in a trench

  8. 8a :  a lateral movement (as of the saddle of a lathe carriage); also :  a device for imparting such movementb :  the lateral movement of a gun about a pivot or on a carriage to change direction of fire

  9. 9 :  a line surveyed across a plot of ground

Origin of traverse

Middle English travers, from Anglo-French travers (as in a travers, de travers across), from Latin transversum (as in in transversum set crosswise), neuter of transversus lying across; senses 5–9 in part from 2traverse — more at transverse

First Known Use: 14th century



verb tra·verse \trə-ˈvərs also tra-ˈ or ˈtra-(ˌ)\

Simple Definition of traverse

  • : to move across (an area)

Full Definition of traverse


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to go against or act in opposition to :  oppose, thwartb :  to deny (as an allegation of fact or an indictment) formally at law

  3. 2a :  to go or travel across or overb :  to move or pass along or through <light rays traversing a crystal>

  4. 3 :  to make a study of :  examine

  5. 4 :  to lie or extend across :  cross <the bridge traverses a brook>

  6. 5a :  to move to and fro over or alongb :  to ascend, descend, or cross (a slope or gap) at an anglec :  to move (a gun) to right or left on a pivot

  7. 6 :  to make or carry out a survey of by using traverses

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 :  to move back and forth or from side to side

  10. 2 :  to move or turn laterally :  swivel

  11. 3a :  to climb at an angle or in a zigzag courseb :  to ski across rather than straight down a hill

  12. 4 :  to make a survey by using traverses

tra·vers·able play \-ˈvər-sə-bəl, -(ˌ)vər-\ adjective
tra·vers·er noun

Examples of traverse

  1. The candidates traversed the state throughout the campaign.

  2. The river traverses the county.

Origin of traverse

Middle English, from Anglo-French traverser, from Late Latin transversare, from Latin transversus

First Known Use: 14th century



adjective tra·verse \ˈtra-(ˌ)vərs, trə-ˈ, tra-ˈ\

Definition of traverse

  1. :  lying across :  transverse

15th Century

First Known Use of traverse

15th century

TRAVERSE Defined for Kids


verb tra·verse \trə-ˈvərs\

Definition of traverse


  1. :  to pass through, across, or over

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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