traverse

verb
tra·​verse | \ trə-ˈvərs also tra-ˈvərs or ˈtra-(ˌ)vərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) \
traversed; traversing

Definition of traverse

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to go or travel across or over
b : to move or pass along or through light rays traversing a crystal
2 : to make a study of : examine
3 : to lie or extend across : cross the bridge traverses a brook
4a : to move to and fro over or along
b : to ascend, descend, or cross (a slope or gap) at an angle
c : to move (a gun) to right or left on a pivot
5a : to go against or act in opposition to : oppose, thwart
b : to deny (something, such as an allegation of fact or an indictment) formally at law
6 : to make or carry out a survey of by using traverses

intransitive verb

1 : to move back and forth or from side to side
2 : to move or turn laterally : swivel
3a : to climb at an angle or in a zigzag course
b : to ski across rather than straight down a hill
4 : to make a survey by using traverses

traverse

noun
tra·​verse | \ ˈtra-vərs also -ˌvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) , especially for senses 6 and 8 also trə-ˈvərs or tra-ˈvərs\

Definition of traverse (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something that crosses or lies across
3 : a formal denial of a matter of fact alleged by the opposing party in a legal pleading
4a : a compartment or recess formed by a partition, curtain, or screen
b : a gallery or loft providing access from one side to another in a large building
5 : a route or way across or over: such as
a : a zigzag course of a sailing ship with contrary winds
b : a curving or zigzag way up a steep grade
c : the course followed in traversing
6 : the act or an instance of traversing : crossing
7 : a protective projecting wall or bank of earth in a trench
8a : a lateral movement (as of the saddle of a lathe carriage) also : a device for imparting such movement
b : the lateral movement of a gun about a pivot or on a carriage to change direction of fire
9 : a line surveyed across a plot of ground

traverse

adjective
tra·​verse | \ ˈtra-(ˌ)vərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) , trə-ˈvərs, tra-ˈvərs\

Definition of traverse (Entry 3 of 3)

: lying across : transverse

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Other Words from traverse

Verb

traversable \ trə-​ˈvər-​sə-​bəl also  tra-​ˈvər-​ or  ˈtra-​(ˌ)vər-​ How to pronounce traversable (audio) \ adjective
traverser noun

Examples of traverse in a Sentence

Verb

The candidates traversed the state throughout the campaign. The river traverses the county.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All too often, the walkway leading to the house entrance is not illuminated, establishing a feeling of uncertainty when traversing the area. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "Angie’s List: How to improve your curb appeal," 3 June 2019 Canada is the largest export market for American goods, and more than one-fourth of all goods exchanged traverse the Detroit River connecting Detroit and Windsor, Canada. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Morouned Over the Detroit River," 15 July 2018 Their analysis of three small areas near the park detected previously undocumented road segments and suggested that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ancient roadways traverse the San Juan Basin. April Reese, Science | AAAS, "Drilling boom threatens web of ancient roads in Southwest," 16 May 2018 The agonizing realization that help will not be arriving, and that your goal of traversing the Northwest Passage was misguided at best, dangerous at worst. refinery29.com, "Read The True Story That Inspired The Terror & You'll Never Face Cold Weather Again," 27 Mar. 2018 Today’s travelers can visit both spots over the course of a couple of days with stops along the way for rest and refreshment, sometimes driving along the original route that took the pioneers about a month to traverse. Terri Colby, chicagotribune.com, "Following in footsteps — or wagon ruts — of American history on Oregon Trail," 24 May 2018 Now an effort is underway to officially change the code and rename the area East Avenue, for the road traversing that part of the community of about 6,000. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "Alaska town seeks to remove ‘Lousetown’ nickname from code," 10 Sep. 2018 Visitors can also view the dust jacket that Tolkien drew for the 1937 edition of The Hobbit, which shows the mountains that Bilbo traversed during his adventures. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unseen Illustrations by J.R.R. Tolkien Are Coming to Oxford," 5 Apr. 2018 Tonight the Thing performs on its own, where the trio easily traverses all of the terrain on those various collaborations with searing focus. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Scandinavian free-jazz juggernaut the Thing returns after dropping a fiery collaboration with James Blood Ulmer," 8 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Djibouti stands at the entrance to the Red Sea, which about 12% of all seaborne trade traverses on scores of ships using the Suez Canal. Costas Paris, WSJ, "China Tightens Grip on East African Port," 21 Feb. 2019 By contrast, Opportunity set a record of traverse distance at around 220 meters on a single Martian day. Jacek Krywko, Ars Technica, "To make Curiosity (et al) more curious, NASA and ESA smarten up AI in space," 16 July 2018 The idea was to design algorithms that would recognize interesting phenomena encountered in the rover's surroundings during traverses and either notify the science team on Earth asking for instructions or examine those phenomena straightaway. Jacek Krywko, Ars Technica, "To make Curiosity (et al) more curious, NASA and ESA smarten up AI in space," 16 July 2018 Highway 20 traverses Clear Lake, Colusa, Yuba City and Nevada City. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "'We are at a loss': CHP is unsure why this span of highway in Grass Valley is so deadly," 6 July 2018 Shiffrin was the 19th skier to go down the hill and ended the run 1.98 seconds behind Vonn after looking shaky coming out of the first traverse. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Silver in Olympic Face-Off With Lindsey Vonn at Women's Alpine Combined Race," 22 Feb. 2018 Kilmer last week helped cut the ribbon on Amtrak's new Freighthouse Square station, within his district, which the new $181 million bypass traverses. Josh Farley, USA TODAY, "Washington officials remain committed to bypass, site of deadly train derailment," 19 Dec. 2017 Analyses by the team, including carbon dating, suggest that the excreta dug up at the Traversette site could date to well within the ballpark of the Punic forces’ traverse. Smithsonian, "How (and Where) Did Hannibal Cross the Alps?," 29 July 2017 The route also crosses seven bridges—including a three-wire bridge and a Tyrolean traverse (basically a horizontal zipline in which climbers clip onto a rope or wire and pull themselves across). Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Climb a 2,500-Rung Ladder Up New Zealand’s Towering Twin Falls," 19 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'traverse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of traverse

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 5a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for traverse

Verb

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

Noun

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 traverse entry 1 — more at transverse entry 1

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Statistics for traverse

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for traverse

The first known use of traverse was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for traverse

traverse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of traverse

somewhat formal : to move across (an area)

traverse

verb
tra·​verse | \ trə-ˈvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) \
traversed; traversing

Kids Definition of traverse

: to pass through, across, or over

traverse

noun
tra·​verse | \ ˈtra-ˌvərs, trə-ˈvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) \

Legal Definition of traverse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a denial of a matter of fact alleged in the opposing party's pleadings also : a pleading in which such a denial is made

traverse

transitive verb
tra·​verse | \ trə-ˈvərs, ˈtra-ˌvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) \

Legal Definition of traverse (Entry 2 of 2)

: to deny (as an allegation of fact or an indictment) in a legal proceeding

History and Etymology for traverse

Transitive verb

Anglo-French traverser, literally, to lay across, bar, impede, from Old French, from Late Latin transversare to cross, from Latin transversus lying across

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More from Merriam-Webster on traverse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with traverse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for traverse

Spanish Central: Translation of traverse

Nglish: Translation of traverse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of traverse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on traverse

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