tra·​vois trə-ˈvȯi How to pronounce travois (audio)
plural travois also travoises trə-ˈvȯiz How to pronounce travois (audio)
: a simple vehicle used by Plains Indians consisting of two trailing poles serving as shafts and bearing a platform or net for the load

Illustration of travois

Illustration of travois

Examples of travois in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On the Great Plains of North America, Native American tribes employed dogs for centuries, outfitting them with a load-bearing frame called a travois that the animals pulled behind them. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 18 June 2019

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

Word History


American French travail, from Canadian French, shaft of a cart, from Middle French traveil catafalque, prop, from Late Latin trepalium instrument of torture — more at travail

First Known Use

1847, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of travois was in 1847

Dictionary Entries Near travois

Cite this Entry

“Travois.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural travois
also travoises -ˈvȯiz How to pronounce travois (audio)
: an animal-drawn vehicle made of two crossed trailing poles used by Plains Indians to transport a load

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