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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The mowing the county referred to in its condescending, wrist-slapping letter is the grassy area across the top of an earthen dam that must be traversed to access one of the park’s trailheads. Sherri Leimkuhler, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Sherri Leimkuhler: A row over the need to mow," 17 Aug. 2019 But its approach and departure angles do call for care when traversing ruts, fording streams and cresting hills. Larry Printz, Dallas News, "The 2020 Subaru Outback is a family hauling staple, even after six generations," 10 Aug. 2019 Maybe one car a week traverses the road where Randolph was discovered. oregonlive.com, "Stranded southern Oregon man, 72, walked 14 miles over 4 days before mountain biker from Portland found him," 25 July 2019 The concepts of collective silence in response to war and the many applications of deafness are artfully traversed. Sarah Neilson, The Seattle Times, "Ilya Kaminsky’s ‘Deaf Republic’ challenges and incites," 29 Mar. 2019 He's traversed the length of the Northwest Passage and was known for hiking the length of the Crow Pass Trail — both ways — in one day. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "This 90-year-old ‘adventurer’s adventurer’ has an almost unreal resume of rambling," 6 Apr. 2018 Sea ice is an open highway, traversed by dog sled and snowmobile, connecting citizens to neighboring communities. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Greenland has serious problems. A Trump deal isn’t one of them.," 21 Aug. 2019 From the outside, ATMosfera tram cars look just like the ones traversing Milan all day long: bounded by rails on the ground and overhead wires, the trolley-like machines are popular modes of transportation used by locals. Anna Ben Yehuda Rahmanan, Fortune, "Ride and Eat in the First Rolling Restaurant in Italy," 10 Aug. 2019 In recent months, tankers traversing the Persian Gulf, where Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter, have been attacked and seized. New York Times, "With Saudi Aramco Set to Disclose Earnings, Could an I.P.O. Be Next?," 9 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about traverse

Statistics for traverse

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for traverse

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up traverse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!