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 She was tracked traversing through California, per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife — making the occasional trip back to Oregon, and briefly crossing into Nevada territory. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "This endangered wolf traveled nearly 9,000 miles to find love. She was found dead.," 10 Feb. 2020 Indigenous reindeer herders traverse this terrain, eking a nomadic living out of the barren land. Anton Troianovski, New York Times, "Arctic Dining: Think Frozen Sashimi, With a Side of Reindeer Blood," 9 Feb. 2020 The tankers would traverse international waters and prime habitat for the endangered southern resident Orca whale population, and migration routes for salmon runs bound for Puget Sound rivers and British Columbia's Fraser River. Houston Chronicle, "Canadian court rejects challenge to pipeline, tankers," 5 Feb. 2020 Jordahl traverses the vehicle barriers that span the San Pedro River. Washington Post, "Trump’s border wall, vulnerable to flash floods, needs large storm gates left open for months," 30 Jan. 2020 The SS Isle de France was traversing the area and changed course to help rescue passengers. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "The oldest cruise ship on the seas is retiring. Here's a look at its crazy history," 24 Jan. 2020 The Longhorns traversed Appalachia’s country roads Monday night and found them cold and cruel. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Morgantown meltdown: Texas suffers embarrassing defeat to West Virginia," 20 Jan. 2020 Morris’s giant vertical beam traverses back and forth across the front of the stage, shining on the backcloth and the dancers in its path. Melissa Harris, The New York Review of Books, "‘That Single Fleeting Moment’: Merce Cunningham in Images," 11 Jan. 2020 DeWine, who first encountered the book mailing initiative through her grandchildren, has traversed the state, singing the praises of the early literacy program and raising money to expand enrollments to all 88 Ohio counties. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "75,000 Cuyahoga kids can get free Imagination Library books in the mail starting next week," 10 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The test involved various traverses on steep ice that gauged candidates’ skills with crampons and ice axes. Simon Akam, Outside Online, "You Won’t Pass Chamonix’s Mountain Guiding Test," 27 Nov. 2019 The locals don’t stand for lollygagging on the single-file traverse. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "36 Hours in Your Favorite North American Ski Towns," 6 Jan. 2020 Kovacs’s favorite is the Overland Track, a six-day traverse of Cradle Mountain–Lake St. Clair National Park. Ewen Bell, National Geographic, "What makes Tasmania an outdoor lover’s dream?," 29 Dec. 2019 The crew of the Iskatel began the expedition with a traverse of Lake Baikal, one of the largest lakes on Earth, and from there followed the winding river networks of eastern Siberia to the Sea of Okhotsk. Garland Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Russian retraces historic route to Sitka," 9 Sep. 2019 Competitors navigated their way through mud pits, over a traverse wall and across a balance beam. Daniel I. Dorfman, chicagotribune.com, "Glencoe’s Great Mud Run makes a mess: ‘It is just part of growing up’," 16 Sep. 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 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.

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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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Time Traveler for traverse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for traverse

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Traverse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/traversing. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for traverse

traverse

verb
How to pronounce traverse (audio)

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
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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Comments on traverse

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