Definition of travel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtrav(ə)l/

verb (travels, travelling, travelled; US travels, traveling, traveled)

1 [no object, with adverbial] Make a journey, typically of some length: the vessel had been travelling from Libya to Ireland we travelled thousands of miles
More example sentences
  • I once fell in love over the internet, and travelled 5 thousand miles to meet her.
  • It is thought thousands of people travelled for hundreds of miles bringing their cattle with them for the feast, which was held after the Roman invasion.
  • On one occasion he ran eight marathons in just ten days, and has often had to travel for thousands of miles to get from one race to the next.
1.1 [with object] Journey along (a road) or through (a region): he travelled the world with the army
More example sentences
  • In his time with the company, he travelled every road and boreen in the Waterford area and he had many a conversation with his clients about farming life.
  • In England the road traffic code system is much the same as here, if you stay away from the motorways and travel the country roads.
  • This is the age at which they can wander and be induced to travel the wrong road.
journey, tour, take a trip, go on a trip, voyage, go on an expedition, go on an excursion, go sightseeing, globetrot, backpack;
roam, rove, range, wend one's way, cruise, hike, trek, tramp, ride, roll;
cross, traverse, cover, make one's way over, circumnavigate, go round, move round;
move, go, proceed
informal gallivant, knock about/around
1.2Withstand a journey without illness or impairment: he usually travels well, but he did get a bit upset on a very rough crossing
More example sentences
  • It is also a look that travels well - and one where ringing the changes is as easy as popping a second jumper or a scarf into the bag.
  • The fruit travels well if picked just before it is fully ripe, so fresh lychees are available in western countries.
  • The food must be the sort that travels well, which means leaving melons, roast chickens, loaves of bread et cetera whole and carving them on site.
1.3Be successful away from the place of origin: accordion music travels well
More example sentences
  • The theory travels well, especially across the Atlantic.
  • The story travels well, indicating that sports obsession is a universal quality.
  • I am forced to the conclusion that this is not a play that travels well.
2 [no object] (Of an object or radiation) move, typically in a constant or predictable way: light travels faster than sound
More example sentences
  • This means that light rays travel to the back of the retina before they have been bent by the cornea and lens.
  • No studies have been made in bordering countries, although there are concerns that radiation travels via the wind, water and fauna.
  • The amount of rays constantly traveling through their body was immeasurable.
move, proceed, progress, advance;
be transmitted, carry
2.1 (usually as adjective travelling) Go or be moved from place to place: a travelling exhibition
More example sentences
  • The aim is to catch local and travelling criminals as they move in and out of York.
  • It should have come to London but the Hackney Empire has delayed its opening until January at the earliest, by which time Hall's travelling players will have moved on.
  • In 1996, the Blue Box mobile theatre made its final journey to Leicestershire to become the centrepiece of an exhibition of touring and travelling theatre.
2.2 informal (Of a vehicle) move quickly.
Example sentences
  • A third articulated lorry travelling behind the three vehicles also moved across and as it did so ploughed into the back of the car, shunting it into the trucks in front.
  • I feel that calming has a significant effect on vehicles: cars travelling at excessive speeds would create a series of noises from each ‘hump’.
  • Now appreciate that a vehicle traveling at 60 mph moves 88 feet per second.
go fast, go rapidly, drive fast, speed, race, go at breakneck speed, hurry, hurtle, hasten, hotfoot it, whip (along), whizz, go like (greased) lightning
informal go hell for leather, go like a bat out of hell, tear up the miles, steam, belt, tear, zip, get cracking, get a move on, burn rubber
British informal bomb, put one's foot down


[mass noun]
1The action of travelling: my job involves a lot of travel
More example sentences
  • It would provide lots of adventure and travel but at the same time also put a safe distance between him and some of the men and women he had cheated.
  • It also avoided a lot of travel back and forward.
  • Twenty-five years ago, I learned about business travel by spending a lot of time in San Francisco.
1.1 [count noun] (travels) Journeys, especially abroad: perhaps you’ll write a book about your travels
More example sentences
  • A number of the lovely and thought-provoking recollections are also based on his travels abroad including those to Italy, Spain and the Holy Land.
  • One of the newer members made an excellent speech of his travels abroad bringing forth much laughter from his appreciative audience.
  • During his travels abroad, he has compared business support levels in different countries, and says the county has much to be proud of.
1.2 [as modifier] (Of a device) sufficiently compact for use on a journey: a travel iron
More example sentences
  • I used to use my mobile as a travel clock, switching the phone off before bed and having it wake me up at the appointed hour.
  • These neat little gadgets may look like a travel clock, but they've got a bit more processing power.
  • So why not give them a travel gadget that serves a dual purpose?
2The range, rate, or mode of motion of a part of a machine: two proximity switches detect when the valve has reached the end of its travel
More example sentences
  • Like many Quebec contractors, machine travel and ground disturbance are driving issues.


Middle English: a variant of travail, and originally in the same sense.

  • Even today travel can be hard work, and travel comes from Middle English travail ‘painful or laborious effort’. The two forms were once interchangeable, and originated in an instrument of torture, called trepalium in Latin, that consisted of three stakes. Robert Louis Stevenson, himself a keen traveller, was the first to express the view that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive, in 1881. The idea that travel broadens the mind appeared first in 1900.

Words that rhyme with travel

Cavell, cavil, gavel, gravel, ravel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: travel

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