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

Example Sentences

Verb The candidates traversed the state throughout the campaign. The river traverses the county.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Visitors had to traverse a confusing series of stairwells and hallways to reach the main galleries on the museum’s second level from the North Lobby. Steven Litt, cleveland, 2 Oct. 2022 Researchers sometimes have to traverse webs of interaction, moving through Kevin Bacon–esque degrees of separation, to pinpoint the original source. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 21 June 2022 Its logo can be seen on classic totes throughout the city, as book-loving New Yorkers traverse the streets and subways. Dana Givens, Robb Report, 13 Sep. 2022 The 22-year-old artist, who in the past has dabbled in pop and alt-rock-leaning tracks, further proves to be a chameleonic singer/songwriter who can traverse from genre to genre. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 29 July 2022 At the Southern Border: Amid a historic spike in migrant crossings, a Times photographer documented three ways that people traverse from Mexico into the United States. New York Times, 15 June 2022 But what distinguishes those who can meet and traverse overwhelming circumstances exceptionally? Alexander Stein, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022 The best hike in the Grand Canyon combines two trails, which traverse the mile-deep canyon, and takes two days. Jonathan Olivier, Outside Online, 10 Oct. 2022 Sections of the trail will pass popash sloughs and traverse the edge of a 5,000-acre sawgrass marsh critical to the surrounding wetland ecosystems. Bill Kearney, Sun Sentinel, 9 Sep. 2022
Noun
In the same way that the process of documenting an experience inevitably changes the nature of that experience, having an FKT as the main impetus for an extended traverse will impose certain constraints. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, 1 Aug. 2020 His instantly timeless songs traverse funk-soul brotherhood, with walking bass lines, jangly chords, percussive wallop and a vocal tone that drips with Cali cool. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2022 Birds that do stop in the area are now prone to attacks from coyotes or other predators who have more land to traverse, according to Stone. ABC News, 18 July 2022 Forty percent of goods that are shipped long-distance in the U.S. traverse the rail system, and a strike could deliver a catastrophic blow as the economy emerges from stresses like supply-chain delays, labor shortages and inflation. Eli M. Rosenberg, NBC News, 13 Sep. 2022 During the episode, Pugh was shown learning how to traverse rapids, test river depth with a rope and rock and avoid poisonous snakes and deep cliff edges. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 16 Aug. 2022 The path over the traverse makes use of chains and ladders, following a knife-edge ridge with drops of over a hundred meters on either side. Joe Minihane, CNN, 14 July 2022 Kate Baecher and her mountaineering group were being guided over a dangerous traverse in Europe a few years ago when a climber in the party ahead of them fell hundreds of feet to her death. Emily Sohn, Outside Online, 9 Nov. 2020 Lines stretching along sidewalks, across parking lots and down streets took days to traverse, with folks there having to camp out overnight. al, 26 July 2022
Adjective
The stripe, which will take 50 gallons of blue paint to complete, will be four inches wide and traverse five bridges in the city and approximately 300 intersections. Michela Moscufo, ABC News, 2 Nov. 2022 Similarly, some projects are simply too big or traverse too many internal silos to be handled by a single AI tool. David Drai, Forbes, 3 May 2022 How should marketers traverse this quickly evolving space? Matthew Lieberman, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 Finland’s Finnair has been forced to reroute many of its flights from the region that its aircraft typically traverse. Emma Brown, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2022 The route would have taken them through quiet countryside a few centuries ago, but today sees them traverse the busy city. CNN, 24 Oct. 2021 Common backpacking circumstances that warrant a dedicated ice pick include the need to clear and traverse snowy trails, as well as preparation of backcountry campsites and removal of ice from hard surfaces including wood, rock, and asphalt. Popular Science, 25 Feb. 2021 The Fairhope parade will include lining up floats parked along Section Street and have vehicles traverse along the parade route. al, 27 Nov. 2020 See More

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.

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 26 Nov. 2022.

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on traverse

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