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

  • n. A horizontal crosspiece over a door or between a door and a window above it.
  • n. A small hinged window above a door or another window.
  • n. A horizontal dividing bar of wood or stone in a window.
  • n. A lintel.
  • n. Nautical Any of several transverse beams affixed to the sternpost of a wooden ship and forming part of the stern.
  • n. Nautical The aftermost transverse structural member in a steel ship, including the floor, frame, and beam assembly at the sternpost.
  • n. Nautical The stern of a square-sterned boat when it is a structural member.
  • n. The horizontal beam on a cross or gallows.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A crosspiece over a door; a lintel.
  • n. A horizontal dividing bar in a window.
  • n. Any of several transverse structural members in a ship, especially at the stern; a thwart.
  • n. The flat or nearly flat stern of a boat or ship.
  • n. The horizontal beam on a cross or gallows.
  • n. Items that have arrived over the transom.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A horizontal crossbar in a window, over a door, or between a door and a window above it. Transom is the horizontal, as mullion is the vertical, bar across an opening. See Illust. of mullion.
  • n. One of the principal transverse timbers of the stern, bolted to the sternpost and giving shape to the stern structure; -- called also transsummer.
  • n. The piece of wood or iron connecting the cheeks of some gun carriages.
  • n. The vane of a cross-staff.
  • n. One of the crossbeams connecting the side frames of a truck with each other.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of the cross-ties or sleepers laid under the longitudinal sills of a permanent way for a street railway, or for any railway laid on this system, as in a mine.
  • n. In architecture, a horizontal bar of timber or stone across a window; also, the cross-bar separating a door from the fanlight above it. See mullion.
  • n. Same as transom-window, 2.
  • n. A slat of a bedstead.
  • n. Nautical, one of several beams or timbers fixed across the stern-post of a ship to strengthen the after part and give it the figure most suitable to the service for which the vessel is intended. See also cut under counter.
  • n. In a saw-pit, a joist resting transversely upon the strakes.
  • n. One of two beams of wood or metal secured horizontally to the side frames of a railway car-truck. They are placed one on each side of the swing-bolster.
  • n. In gunnery, a piece of wood or iron joining the cheeks of gun-carriages, whence the terms transom-plates, transom-bolts, etc.
  • n. In surveying, a piece of wood made to slide upon a cross-staff; the vane of a cross-staff.

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

  • n. a window above a door that is usually hinged to a horizontal crosspiece over the door
  • n. a horizontal crosspiece across a window or separating a door from a window over it


Middle English traunsom, probably alteration of Latin trānstrum, cross-beam, from trāns, across; see trans-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably an alteration of Latin transtrum ("crossbeam"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Don't hold.

    April 5, 2009

  • 5. Nautical.
    a. a flat termination to a stern, above the water line.
    b. framework running athwartships in way of the sternpost of a steel or iron vessel, used as a support for the frames of the counter.

    December 24, 2008