traverse

1 of 3

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
traversable
trə-ˈvər-sə-bəl How to pronounce traverse (audio)
 also  tra-ˈvər-
 or  ˈtra-(ˌ)vər-
adjective
traverser noun

traverse

2 of 3

noun

tra·​verse ˈtra-vərs How to pronounce traverse (audio)
 also  -ˌvərs,
especially for senses 6 and 8 also
trə-ˈvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio)
 or  tra-ˈvərs
1
: something that crosses or lies across
2
3
: a formal denial of a matter of fact alleged by the opposing party in a legal pleading
4
a
: 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
8
a
: 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

3 of 3

adjective

tra·​verse ˈtra-(ˌ)vərs How to pronounce traverse (audio) trə-ˈvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio)
tra-ˈvərs
: lying across : transverse

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
Exceptions include when attending indoor athletic events, taking public transportation, or traversing public thoroughfare spaces such as airports, hotel lobbies, and elevators. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 8 Feb. 2024 Wintertime visitors traverse the 250 miles of trails using skis, snowshoes, dog teams and snowmobiles. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 For Europe, the effect is even bigger: 40% of clothes and 50% of shoes traverse the Red Sea. Paul Wiseman and Mae Anderson The Associated Press, arkansasonline.com, 30 Jan. 2024 For Europe, the impact is even bigger: 40% of clothes and 50% of shoes traverse the Red Sea. Paul Wiseman and Mae Anderson, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Jan. 2024 Houthis have launched at least 34 attacks on ships traversing the important trade route since Hamas attacked Israel in October, sparking the Gaza war. Harold Maass, theweek, 23 Jan. 2024 Construction took place last year, and the first shipments of minerals traversed Angola this month. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2024 This 40-mile road traverses ocean straits on colossal bridges connecting some of the Geiyo Islands and was built with cyclists in mind. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 26 Jan. 2024 On the vehicle's 71st flight about two weeks ago, the helicopter was supposed to traverse a long distance of nearly 1,200 feet (358 meters), reaching an altitude of 40 feet (12 meters) and spending nearly 125 seconds airborne. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 22 Jan. 2024
Noun
At first, hardy Highlanders developed the tartan kilt in the 16th century, attire perfectly suited to the landscape, where Scots had to climb hills, traverse bogs, and fight the English with agility in all weather. Ross Kenneth Urken, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 Two of the new huts will fill in gaps along the existing Resurrection Pass hut system, making a 75-mile traverse from Hope to Seward possible—as long as users can get the appropriate reservations. Corey Buhay, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Jan. 2024 Sir Ernest Shackleton made a truly miraculous traverse of the island in 1916 after the near-tragedy of the Endurance Antarctic Expedition. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 30 Nov. 2023 Another option is Gotham Bicycle Tours, along The Empire State Trail, a 750-mile traverse designed for bicyclists and hikers to explore New York State. Lea Lane, Forbes, 12 June 2022 A lot has — understandably — happened since Pluto's last traverse through the sign of the water bearer. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, 23 Mar. 2023 Their up-and-down trajectory traverses space for just a few minutes. Christian Davenport, Washington Post, 29 June 2023 Taken together, the data illustrates, in cinematic detail, a day in the life of a whale: its every breath and every dive, its traverses through fields of sea nettles and jellyfish, its encounters with twirling sea lions. Camille Bromley, WIRED, 29 Aug. 2023 The House voted unanimously on Thursday to condemn China for letting its surveillance balloon traverse American airspace without warning or apology. Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2023
Adjective
Doppelgänger appeared to have used widely available artificial intelligence tools to create news outlets dedicated to American politics, with names like Election Watch and My Pride. Disinformation campaigns like this easily traverse borders. Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2024 Situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the area surrounding this city of almost 170,000 remains rural, with miles of unpaved roads that traverse ranch land and prairie. Cindy Hirschfeld, New York Times, 4 Oct. 2023 The roughly 90-minute afternoon shows traverse uneven terrain, so prepare accordingly. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 13 Sep. 2023 Inspired by a desire to descend to vents on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus and enter the subsurface ocean, this versatile robot is being developed to autonomously map, traverse, and explore previously inaccessible destinations on Earth, the moon, and other worlds in our solar system. IEEE Spectrum, 12 May 2023 The Jeep Wrangler can ford rivers, crawl over boulders, traverse deserts and blaze through uncharted territory. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 7 May 2023 In 2007, Homeland Security Investigations, an agency that deals with cases of smuggling that traverse international borders, received information about looted artifacts brought to the New York City area from India. Ben Fox, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Apr. 2021 So the new course is probably going to start in Milwaukee and traverse to southern counties. Lori Nickel, Journal Sentinel, 8 Feb. 2023 Parts of the 6-mile trail for off-road biking or hiking are heavily forested and traverse steep ancient dunes; $6 per vehicle. Clara Bosonetto, ajc, 17 Dec. 2013 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'traverse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near traverse

Cite this Entry

“Traverse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/traverse. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

traverse

1 of 3 noun
trav·​erse
ˈtra-vərs
1
: something that crosses or lies across
2
: a curved or zigzag path along the face of a steep slope
3
: the act or an instance of traversing
stopped to rest in their traverse of the mountain

traverse

2 of 3 verb
tra·​verse trə-ˈvərs How to pronounce traverse (audio)
traversed; traversing
1
: to go against : oppose
2
a
: to pass through, across, or over
traversed the historic fields
b
: to lie or extend across
a bridge traverses the river
3
: to make a study of : examine
4
: to move back and forth or from side to side
pedestrians traversing the busy intersection
5
: to climb or ski at an angle or in a zigzag course

traverse

3 of 3 adjective
trav·​erse
ˈtra-(ˌ)vərs,
trə-ˈvərs
: lying across : transverse

Legal Definition

traverse

1 of 2 noun
: 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

2 of 2 transitive verb
: to deny (as an allegation of fact or an indictment) in a legal proceeding
Etymology

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

More from Merriam-Webster on traverse

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