tra·​vois | \ trə-ˈvȯi How to pronounce travois (audio) , ˈtra-ˌvȯi \
plural travois also travoises\ trə-​ˈvȯiz How to pronounce travois (audio) , ˈtra-​ˌvȯiz \

Definition of travois

: 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'travois.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of travois

1847, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for travois

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

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The first known use of travois was in 1847

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Cite this Entry

“Travois.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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