from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To travel or pass across, over, or through.
  • transitive v. To move to and fro over; cross and recross.
  • transitive v. To go up, down, or across (a slope) diagonally, as in skiing.
  • transitive v. To cause to move laterally on a pivot; swivel: traverse an artillery piece.
  • transitive v. To extend across; cross: a bridge that traverses a river.
  • transitive v. To look over carefully; examine.
  • transitive v. To go counter to; thwart.
  • transitive v. Law To deny formally (an allegation of fact by the opposing party) in a suit. See Synonyms at deny.
  • transitive v. Law To join issue upon (an indictment).
  • transitive v. To survey by traverse.
  • transitive v. Nautical To brace (a yard) fore and aft.
  • intransitive v. To move to the side or back and forth.
  • intransitive v. To turn laterally; swivel.
  • intransitive v. To go up, down, or across a slope diagonally or in a zigzag manner, as in skiing.
  • intransitive v. To slide one's blade with pressure toward the hilt of the opponent's foil in fencing.
  • n. A passing across, over, or through.
  • n. A route or path across or over.
  • n. Something that lies across, especially:
  • n. An intersecting line; a transversal.
  • n. Architecture A structural crosspiece; a transom.
  • n. A gallery, deck, or loft crossing from one side of a building to the other.
  • n. A railing, curtain, screen, or similar barrier.
  • n. A defensive barrier across a rampart or trench, as a bank of earth thrown up to protect against enfilade fire.
  • n. Something that obstructs and thwarts; an obstacle.
  • n. Nautical The zigzag route of a vessel forced by contrary winds to sail on different courses.
  • n. A zigzag or diagonal course on a steep slope, as in skiing.
  • n. A lateral movement, as of a lathe tool across a piece of wood.
  • n. A part of a mechanism that moves in this manner.
  • n. The lateral swivel of a mounted gun.
  • n. A line established by sighting in surveying a tract of land.
  • n. Law A formal denial of the opposing party's allegation of fact in a suit.
  • adj. Lying or extending across; transverse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A route used in mountaineering, specifically rock climbing, in which the descent occurs by a different route than the ascent.
  • n. In fortification, a mass of earth or other material employed to protect troops against enfilade. It is constructed at right angles to the parapet.
  • n. A series of points, with angles and distances measured between, traveled around a subject, usually for use as "control" i.e. angular reference system for later surveying work.
  • n. A screen or partition.
  • v. To travel across, often under difficult conditions.
  • v. To visit all parts of; to explore thoroughly; as, to traverse all nodes in a network.
  • v. To rotate a gun around a vertical axis to bear upon a military target.
  • v. To climb or descend a steep hill at a wide angle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Lying across; being in a direction across something else.
  • adv. Athwart; across; crosswise.
  • n. Anything that traverses, or crosses.
  • n. Something that thwarts, crosses, or obstructs; a cross accident; as, he would have succeeded, had it not been for unlucky traverses not under his control.
  • n. A barrier, sliding door, movable screen, curtain, or the like.
  • n. A gallery or loft of communication from side to side of a church or other large building.
  • n. A work thrown up to intercept an enfilade, or reverse fire, along exposed passage, or line of work.
  • n. A formal denial of some matter of fact alleged by the opposite party in any stage of the pleadings. The technical words introducing a traverse are absque hoc, without this; that is, without this which follows.
  • n. The zigzag course or courses made by a ship in passing from one place to another; a compound course.
  • n. A line lying across a figure or other lines; a transversal.
  • n. A line surveyed across a plot of ground.
  • n. The turning of a gun so as to make it point in any desired direction.
  • n. A turning; a trick; a subterfuge.
  • intransitive v. To use the posture or motions of opposition or counteraction, as in fencing.
  • intransitive v. To turn, as on a pivot; to move round; to swivel
  • intransitive v. To tread or move crosswise, as a horse that throws his croup to one side and his head to the other.
  • transitive v. To lay in a cross direction; to cross.
  • transitive v. To cross by way of opposition; to thwart with obstacles; to obstruct; to bring to naught.
  • transitive v. To wander over; to cross in traveling.
  • transitive v. To pass over and view; to survey carefully.
  • transitive v. To turn to the one side or the other, in order to point in any direction.
  • transitive v. To plane in a direction across the grain of the wood.
  • transitive v. To deny formally, as what the opposite party has alleged. When the plaintiff or defendant advances new matter, he avers it to be true, and traverses what the other party has affirmed. To traverse an indictment or an office is to deny it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to move across; propel.
  • Situated or acting across or athwart; thwart; transverse; crossing.
  • In heraldry, crossing the escutcheon from side to side, so as to touch both the dexter and sinister edges.
  • n. Anything that traverses or crosses; a bar or barrier
  • n. A railing or lattice of wood or metal.
  • n. A seat or stall in a church with a lattice, curtain, or screen before it.
  • n. A strong beam of hard wood laid across several loose pieces of square timber, and having these pieces secured to it so as to form a crib; also, a transverse piece in a timber-framed roof.
  • n. In weaving, a skeleton frame to hold the bobbins of yarn, which are wound from it upon the warp-frame.
  • n. That which thwarts, crosses, or obstructs; an untoward accident.
  • n. A dispute; a controversy.
  • n. In fortification, an earthen mask, similar to a parapet, thrown across the covered way of a permanent work to protect it from the effects of an enfilading five.
  • n. The act of traversing or traveling over; a passage; a crossing.
  • n. In gunnery, the turning of a gun so as to make it point in any required direction.
  • n. Nautical, the crooked or zigzag line or track described by a ship when compelled by contrary winds or currents to sail on different courses. See traverse sailing, under sailing.
  • n. In architecture, a gallery or loft of communication from one side or part of the building to another, in a church or other large structure.
  • n. In law, a denial; especially, a denial, in pleading, of any allegation of matter of fact made by the adverse party.
  • n. In geometry, a line lying across a figure or other lines; a transversal.
  • n. A turning; a trick; a pretext.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing resembling a point or pile—that is, a triangle, of which one side corresponds with either the sinister or dexter edge of the escutcheon, and the point of which reaches nearly or quite to the opposite edge. It is, therefore, the same as point dexter removed or point sinister removed.
  • n. A sliding screen or barrier.
  • n. In the manufacture of playing-cards, one of the eight strips into which each sheet of cardboard is cut. Each traverse makes five cards.
  • n. Same as trevis, 2.
  • n. A bolster.
  • n. Across; in opposition.
  • n. The postpouement of the trial of an indictment after a plea of not guilty thereto.
  • Athwart; crosswise; transversely.
  • To lay athwart, or in a cross direction; cause to cross.
  • To pass across; pass over or through transversely; wander over; cross in traveling.
  • To pass in review; survey carefully.
  • In gunnery, to turn and point in any direction.
  • In carpentry, to plane in a direction across the grain of the wood: as, to traverse a board.
  • To cross by way of opposition; thwart; obstruct.
  • To deny; specifically, in law, to deny in pleading: said of any matter of fact which the opposite party has alleged in his pleading.
  • To cross; cross over.
  • To march to and fro.
  • In fencing, to nse the posture or motions of opposition or counteraction.
  • To turn, as on a pivot; move round; swivel: as, the needle of a compass traverses.
  • To digress in speaking.
  • In the manège, to move or walk crosswise, as a horse that throws his croup to one side and his head to the other.
  • A lifting-jack with a standard movable upon its bed, so that it can be applied to different parts of an object, or can move an object horizontally while the bed remains fixed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a horizontal crosspiece across a window or separating a door from a window over it
  • n. travel across
  • n. a horizontal beam that extends across something
  • v. travel across or pass over
  • v. deny formally (an allegation of fact by the opposing party) in a legal suit
  • n. taking a zigzag path on skis
  • v. to cover or extend over an area or time period


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English traversen, from Old French traverser, from Vulgar Latin *trāversāre, from Late Latin trānsversāre, from Latin trānsversus, transverse; see transverse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin trans across + versus turned, perfect passive participle of vertere, turn



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  • "Look, bullethead. If they're hiking through the jungle there's nothing I can do about it. I have a car. I am not Tarzan. I have been through every one-horse sh-thole for a two-hundred mile radius. You should have seen the river I had to traverse this morning."

    -- Danny DeVito as Ralph in 'Romancing the Stone'

    March 21, 2008