from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • preposition From one side to the other of; across.
  • preposition Contrary to; against.
  • preposition Nautical Across the course, line, or length of.
  • adverb From side to side; crosswise or transversely.
  • adverb So as to thwart, obstruct, or oppose; perversely.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • preposition Across; from side to side of.
  • preposition (Naut.) Across the direction or course of.
  • preposition across the stem of another vessel, whether in contact or at a small distance.
  • preposition across the ship from side to side, or in that direction; -- opposed to fore and aft.
  • adverb Across, especially in an oblique direction; sidewise; obliquely.
  • adverb Across the course; so as to thwart; perversely.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

Middle English : a-, on; see a-2 + thwert, across; see thwart.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From a- + thwart.


  • I call it athwart parking rather than parallel parking.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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."

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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