Definition of traverse in English:

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Pronunciation: /trəˈvərs/


[with object]
1Travel across or through: he traversed the forest
More example sentences
  • Wild animals and birds traversing contiguous forest stretches have no clue that there might be restrictions.
  • He would repeatedly cheer us up by assuring us that our team was the first to uninterruptedly traverse this difficult, and unique, coast-to-coast route.
  • Deserts were crossed, mountains were scaled, forests were traversed, icebergs were negotiated.
travel over/across, cross, journey over/across, pass over;
wander, roam, range
1.1Extend across or through: a moving catwalk that traversed a vast cavernous space
More example sentences
  • The show presents its monumental architecture, its military might, the way it controlled and administered its dominions through provincial satrapies and the network of roads that traversed its vast distances.
  • Empathy with the landscape is expressed not only through the extended architectural promenade that traverses the contours of the site, but also through the material character of the Natatorium.
  • I choose instead a flat six-mile track traversing Licuala State Forest Park, where the giant fan palms and prehistoric cycad trees start a few feet from the parking lot.
cross, bridge, span;
extend across, lie across, stretch across
1.2 [no object] Cross a hill or mountain by means of a series of sideways movements from one practicable line of ascent or descent to another: I often use this route, eventually traversing around the cliff
More example sentences
  • The time-pressed can try bouldering, which entails traversing and short ascents that can be completed sans rope.
  • As the gully became wider on the descent, we were forced to traverse ever farther left, on tiny broken ledges, eventually reaching the top of the wall.
  • From there, we traversed across ledges and slabs toward the next belay.
1.3Ski diagonally across (a slope), with only a slight descent.
Example sentences
  • When the time came to retrieve the plates, we had to traverse slopes that had more than a meter of new snow.
  • They were traversing Windy Ridge in Uintah back country known for heavy avalanche activity, he said.
  • Although most skiers traverse the Inside Road from north to south, both directions demand stamina with substantial elevation gains and losses.
1.4Consider or discuss the whole extent of (a subject): he would traverse a number of subjects and disciplines
More example sentences
  • The committee was also privy to Cabinet papers that had traversed the issue with a lot of scrutiny.
  • I do not intend to traverse the issues already covered by Dr Wayne Mapp.
  • In the final session, students debated the merits of acknowledging taha Maori in their practice, traversing issues raised by Johnstone and Read.
2Move (something) back and forth or sideways: a probe is traversed along the tunnel
More example sentences
  • Each node would carry only one pointer field to traverse the list back and forth.
  • Setting the time delay between the pump and the probe was achieved by varying the distance traversed by the probe beam with a motorized mechanical stage.
  • Probes were constructed, thankfully unmanned, that could traverse space for long enough to touch down on the face of a planet and act as a beacon, or as a receiving antenna for the light matter.
2.1Turn (a large gun or other device on a pivot) to face a different direction.
Example sentences
  • The casemate mounted a gun on a pivot which could be traversed to fire through an embrasure.
  • I fought open hatch the whole way and ordered Red 1 to do the same, as we were very vulnerable from the flanks as we approached the market and could not traverse our turrets well there.
  • When we did traverse the aircraft, it took a thorough brief and exact timing of the pitch and roll of the ship.
3 Law Deny (an allegation) in pleading.
Example sentences
  • Each and every allegation herein contained is denied as if specifically traversed and the Claimant is put to the proof thereof.
  • The first issue is that he was obviously in a great tactical difficulty - he would have been traversing his own case if he was going to suggest that something less than the commercial quantity could have been manufactured.
  • Cause of action has been held from the earliest time to mean every fact which is material to be proved to entitle the plaintiff to succeed - every fact which the defendant would have to traverse.
3.1 archaic Oppose or thwart (a plan).
Example sentences
  • When he discovered that the revolutions in Central Italy traversed his plan, he should have warned Victor Emanuel and Cavour that this new condition would warrant him in breaking his compact.
  • Unfortunately his plans were traversed by the Pope.
  • But his plans were traversed again and again by unforeseen complications, the failure of the most promising presumptions, and the perpetual shifting of apparently stable alliances.


1An act of traversing something.
Example sentences
  • They'll find out soon enough, and the traverses across the featureless, flat topography of Meridiani Planum is going to make for ‘smooth sailing’ for the rover.
  • On day seven the hiking group is met by a re-supply group at Bannerman's Pass and among those in the revictualling group is Ida de Villiers, who had buddied with Jenny on two previous traverses.
  • The explorers would undertake long traverses, thoroughly studying and recording the characteristics of the region around their landing site.
1.1A hill or mountain where traversing is necessary: a narrow traverse made lethal by snow and ice
More example sentences
  • This was handy, but also meant that the heavy bag of rope I had lugged in, getting constantly trapped in the narrow rift below the traverses, was all for nothing - oh well!
  • A traverse then leads to a ledge from which a short narrow descent may be rigged to the streamway below.
  • We made the traverse out and were at the last climb for the easy path leading back to homebase.
1.2A movement following a diagonal course made by a skier descending a slope.
Example sentences
  • Also, skiers doing long traverses with little emphasis on making turns found the lightweight edged Nordic skis to be a good tool.
  • I have second thoughts as I begin to cut a traverse up and across a powdery leeward slope.
  • Everybody, even our best skiers, cautiously sidestepped down the first narrow pitch, then made cautious traverses and kick turns.
1.3A zigzag course followed by a ship because winds or currents prevent it from sailing directly toward its destination.
2A part of a structure that extends or is fixed across something.
Example sentences
  • The access to the feed was adapted to the size of animals with a traverse allowing only one animal to enter.
  • These were of brick, built on the surface but surrounded with a traverse and topped with a six foot thick shingle filled concrete sandwich roof.
2.1A gallery extending from side to side of a church or other building.
3A mechanism enabling a large gun to be turned to face a different direction.
Example sentences
  • Each time the gun is fired, the tube must go into detente for cartridge ejection, and the power traverse of the turret is inoperable during ejection and reloading operations.
  • The elevation and traverse are powered hydraulically.
  • The program will also include a laser ignition system, electric drives for the howitzer's traverse and elevation and a powered projectile rammer.
3.1The sideways movement of a part in a machine.
Example sentences
  • The turret machine gun can also be operated from under armor by being mounted on a circular revolving ring for automatic traverse.
  • During this climb, the traverse of the turret knocked Treacy off.
  • The AFCS displays the target information, selects the gun traverse and elevation and lays the weapon on the target.
4A single line of survey, usually plotted from compass bearings and chained or paced distances between angular points.
Example sentences
  • There are several ways to obtain the starting data, and surveyors should make an effort to use the best data available to begin a traverse.
4.1A tract surveyed by traversing.
Example sentences
  • Whilst surveying a traverse, the horizontal angle at station B, between two adjacent stations A and C, was measured as having a value of 153o 44' 50".
  • In surveying a traverse, a series of measured short lines may be projected onto a single long line, connecting two main survey stations, and the long line is then treated as a measured line of the traverse.
5 Military A pair of right-angled bends incorporated in a trench to avoid enfilading fire.
Example sentences
  • "Sir," announced an orderly, poking his head around a traverse in the trench, "dinner is served."
  • This ship is full of officers and men who are quite likely to be utterly ignorant of what was going on round the next traverse in the trench which they had occupied.
6 variant spelling of travers.


(Of a curtain rod) allowing the curtain to be opened and closed by sliding it along the rod.
Example sentences
  • There is so much on the market today - decorative traverse rods, pole sets, metal or wood rods.
  • Drapery panels are traditionally floor-length, lined and pinch-pleated, attached by hook to a traverse rod, with a pull cord.
  • If the draperies will hang from a conventional traverse rod, determine the finished length by measuring from the top of the rod to where you want the lower edge of the draperies.



Pronunciation: /trəˈvərsəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • The only flat, traversable region of the Isthmus is on the Pacific side - where the coastal Zapotecs live.
  • The researchers found that the flies first visually measure the gap width and then only cross the gap if it is a traversable width.
  • Hence we may assume local woods had the normal mix of mature and younger trees and were quite traversable.


Pronunciation: /trəˈvərs(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Transportation, as traversal, is the crossing, which is movement as such.
  • The novel as a whole deals with the central character's traversal of a variety of psycho-geographic locations, as identified by Simon Gikandi.
  • Perhaps the most uncanny portion of The Lord of the Rings, without terrible horror, but with an air of hopeless regret, is the traversal of the bog created by the battle which ended the previous age centuries before.


Middle English (sense 3 of the verb): from Old French traverser, from late Latin traversare; the noun is from Old French travers (masculine), traverse (feminine), partly based on traverser.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: trav·erse

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