Definitions

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

  • n. A frame slung between trailing poles and pulled by a dog or horse, formerly used by Plains Indians as a conveyance for goods and belongings.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A traditional North American Indian sled-like vehicle, pulled by person, dog, or horse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A primitive vehicle, common among the North American Indians, usually two trailing poles serving as shafts and bearing a platform or net for a load.
  • n. A logging sled.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See dray, 3.
  • n. Same as travail.

Etymologies

Canadian French, alteration of obsolete travoy, from travail, cart-shaft, from French, frame for restraining horses, alteration of Late Latin tripālium, device with three stakes, probably from Latin tripālis, having three stakes; see travail.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Canadian French, from an alteration of travail (etymology 2), from Medieval Latin trepalium ("instrument of torture"), probably a calque from Ancient Greek. See πάσσαλος (passalos, "peg"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In smooth country, and when the sick or wounded person is not too badly off, the Indian and trapper "travois" or horse litter may be employed.

    Pluck on the Long Trail Boy Scouts in the Rockies

  • "travois," and the great pony herds, to the fastnesses of the Big Horn; and now comes the opportunity for which an old Indian-fighter has been anxiously waiting.

    The Deserter

  • I drag it out with my drag rope or if it's too big I find a couple stong sticks and make a travois.

    How do YOU get your deer out of the woods to the truck? I use a Cabelas game hauler.

  • On the horizon, mountain ranges, constantly in sight, were the place for the plains tribes to cut poles for travois and lodge, and to find the best wood for bows.

    Bird Cloud

  • Indians used the younger, slenderest trees as tipi and travois poles.

    Bird Cloud

  • He needs a medical cart or travois capable of transporting the injured.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • He didn't have his rifle, but he had plenty of dried fish for the dogs and enough meat laid in for the winter, and he didn't need to hunt now, especially since he didn't relish the idea of dragging a travois loaded with game behind him.

    Narrative Magazine's Friday Feature: Alexi Zentner's 'Trapline'

  • The only way he could transport him safely was on the travois he had back at the cabin.

    Come Again No More

  • By the time he made it back to the wreck with the travois bouncing along behind him, Eli was unconscious.

    Come Again No More

  • When they started off, the travois hit a bump, and she heard Eli moan.

    Come Again No More

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Comments

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  • A draggin' wagon?

    May 14, 2011

  • In English, it's generally pronounced "trah-VOY", even though strictly speaking it should be "trah-VUAH".

    August 21, 2008

  • A travois (Canadian French, from French travail, a frame for restraining horses; also obsolete travoy or travoise) is a frame used by Native Americans, notably the Plains Indians of North America, to drag loads over land. The basic construction consists of a platform or netting mounted on two long poles, lashed in the shape of an elongated isosceles triangle; the frame was dragged with the sharply pointed end forward. Sometimes the blunt end of the frame was stabilized by a third pole bound across the two main poles.
    _Wikipedia

    June 9, 2008