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

  • intransitive verb To travel or pass across, over, or through.
  • intransitive verb To move to and fro over; cross and recross.
  • intransitive verb To go up, down, or across (a slope) diagonally, as in skiing.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move laterally on a pivot; swivel.
  • intransitive verb To extend across; cross.
  • intransitive verb To look over carefully; examine.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To go counter to; thwart.
  • intransitive verb To deny formally (an allegation of fact by the opposing party) in a lawsuit.
  • intransitive verb To join issue upon (an indictment).
  • intransitive verb To survey by traverse.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To brace (a yard) fore and aft.
  • intransitive verb To move to the side or back and forth.
  • intransitive verb To turn laterally; swivel.
  • intransitive verb To go up, down, or across a slope diagonally or in a zigzag manner, as in skiing.
  • intransitive verb To slide one's blade with pressure toward the hilt of the opponent's foil in fencing.
  • noun A passing across, over, or through.
  • noun A route or path across or over.
  • noun Something that lies across, especially.
  • noun An intersecting line; a transversal.
  • noun Architecture A structural crosspiece; a transom.
  • noun A gallery, deck, or loft crossing from one side of a building to the other.
  • noun A railing, curtain, screen, or similar barrier.
  • noun A defensive barrier across a rampart or trench, as a bank of earth thrown up to protect against enfilade fire.
  • noun Something that obstructs and thwarts; an obstacle.
  • noun Nautical The zigzag route of a vessel forced by contrary winds to sail on different courses.
  • noun A zigzag or diagonal course on a steep slope, as in skiing.
  • noun A lateral movement, as of a lathe tool across a piece of wood.
  • noun A part of a mechanism that moves in this manner.
  • noun The lateral swivel of a mounted gun.
  • noun A line established by sighting in surveying a tract of land.
  • noun Law A formal denial of the opposing party's allegation of fact in a lawsuit.
  • adjective Lying or extending across; transverse.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cause to move across; propel.
  • Athwart; crosswise; transversely.
  • To lay athwart, or in a cross direction; cause to cross.
  • To pass across; pass over or through transversely; wander over; cross in traveling.
  • To pass in review; survey carefully.
  • In gunnery, to turn and point in any direction.
  • In carpentry, to plane in a direction across the grain of the wood: as, to traverse a board.
  • To cross by way of opposition; thwart; obstruct.
  • To deny; specifically, in law, to deny in pleading: said of any matter of fact which the opposite party has alleged in his pleading.
  • To cross; cross over.
  • To march to and fro.
  • In fencing, to nse the posture or motions of opposition or counteraction.
  • To turn, as on a pivot; move round; swivel: as, the needle of a compass traverses.
  • To digress in speaking.


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

[Middle English traversen, from Old French traverser, from Vulgar Latin *trāversāre, from Late Latin trānsversāre, from Latin trānsversus, transverse; see transverse.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin trans across + versus turned, perfect passive participle of vertere, turn


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  • "Look, bullethead. If they're hiking through the jungle there's nothing I can do about it. I have a car. I am not Tarzan. I have been through every one-horse sh-thole for a two-hundred mile radius. You should have seen the river I had to traverse this morning."

    -- Danny DeVito as Ralph in 'Romancing the Stone'

    March 21, 2008