Definitions

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

  • adv. From side to side; crosswise or transversely.
  • adv. So as to thwart, obstruct, or oppose; perversely.
  • prep. From one side to the other of; across: "the Stars that shoot athwart the Night” ( Alexander Pope).
  • prep. Contrary to; against.
  • prep. Nautical Across the course, line, or length of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. From side to side; across.
  • adv. Across the path (of something).
  • prep. From one side to the other side of.
  • prep. Across the line of a ship's course or across its deck.
  • prep. Across the path or course of; opposing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Across, especially in an oblique direction; sidewise; obliquely.
  • adv. Across the course; so as to thwart; perversely.
  • prep. Across; from side to side of.
  • prep. Across the direction or course of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Crosswise; from side to side; transversely.
  • In opposition to the proper or expected course; in a manner to cross and perplex; crossly; wrongly; wrongfully.
  • Across; from side to side of.
  • Nautical, across the line of a ship's course.
  • In opposition to; against; contrary to.

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

  • adv. at right angles to the center line of a ship
  • adv. at an oblique angle

Etymologies

Middle English : a-, on; see a-2 + thwert, across; see thwart.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a- + thwart. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I call it athwart parking rather than parallel parking.

    Fatal Error

  • Then Sir Guy rose gently and laid his sword athwart the stream from bank to bank; so the weasel passed over the sword, as it had been a bridge, and having made his way to a hole at the foot of the hill on the other side, went in thereat.

    Legends That Every Child Should Know; a Selection of the Great Legends of All Times for Young People

  • Not coincidentally, this rift is deepening even as Gujarat booms economically, with brand-new malls, multi plexes, highways, and private ports transforming it into a pulsing region-state athwart Indian Ocean trade routes.

    India’s New Face

  • -The purpose of conservatism is to stand athwart history--William F. Buckley, Jr.

    Paul Abrams: 3 Key Strategic Ingredients for the President's Get America Working Plan

  • The White Silence, for the moment driven to the rimming forest, seemed ever crushing inward; the stars danced with great leaps, as is their wont in the time of the Great Cold; while the Spirits of the Pole trailed their robes of glory athwart the heavens.

    The Son of the Wolf

  • At high noon the sun, without raising its rim above the southern horizon, threw a suggestion of fire athwart the heavens, then quickly drew it back.

    The White Silence

  • William F. Buckley's upstart conservative magazine, National Review, made its debut in 1955 with the now-famous opening line that it "stands athwart history, yelling Stop."

    The Non-Economist's Economist

  • It was a little like John Kerry's anti-Vietnam protest at the Capitol in 1971, utilizing the most stilted Pentagonese jargon to describe demonstrations "athwart hostile infiltration" of the Congress, and so forth.

    Conrad Black: My Manifesto For the Occupy Movement

  • But when politicians make that dangerous leap to novelist, one wants to crib from William F. Buckley and stand athwart Capitol Hill yelling please, for the love of God, stop.

    The Tedium Is the Message

  • They saw it as an alternative air-and-naval hub to Karachi that, along with the port of Pasni to the east, would make Pakistan a great Indian Ocean power athwart the whole Near East.

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

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  • "Hassan Abd al-Hassad, an Agha Khan, basks at an ashram - a Taj Mahal that has grand parks and grass lawns, all as vast as parklands at Alhambra and Valhalla. Hassan can, at a handclap, call a vassal at hand and ask that all staff plan a bacchanal - a gala ball that has what pagan charm small galas lack. Hassan claps, and (tah-dah) an Arab lass at a swank spa can draw a man's bath and wash a man's back, as Arab lads fawn and hang, athwart an altar, amaranth garlands as fragrant as attar - a balm that calms all angst. A dwarf can flap a palm branch that fans a fat maharajah. A naphtha lamp can cast a calm warmth."
    - Christian Bok, 'Eunoia'.

    October 30, 2008

  • "...if NATIONAL REVIEW is superfluous, it is so for very different reasons: It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it."

    -- Wm. F. Buckley


    I always thought that was a neat turn of phrase.

    August 19, 2008

  • "In this latter end of autumn, with a sparse remnant of yellow leaves falling slowly athwart the dark evergreens in a stillness without sunshine, the house too had an air of autumnal decline..."

    - George Eliot, Middlemarch

    February 14, 2008

  • "'Such tales have I heard of Captain Bentinck's palls, or rather shrouds, and his triangular courses, of Captain Pakenham's newly-discovered rudder, of Captain Bolton's jury-mast, of improved iron-horses, dogs, dolphins, mouses — or mice as some say — puddings...'

    "'Puddings, my dear sir?' cried Graham.

    "'Puddings. We trice 'em athwart the starboard gumbrils, when sailing by and large.'

    "'The starboard gumbrils ... by and large,' said Graham, and with a passing qualm Stephen recalled that the Professor had an unusually good memory..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 76

    February 11, 2008