Definition of transom in English:



  • 1The flat surface forming the stern of a boat.

    • ‘After the transom and hull began to crack, they learned otherwise.’
    • ‘With six of us now in the boat, the low transom and failed bilge pump is worrying, but we dive anyway.’
    • ‘The main saloon is nicely arranged with a transom berth and pilot berth to port and a settee/berth to starboard.’
    • ‘The sheer of the B40 is slightly flatter, the transom more vertical and broader, and the bow slightly less spoon-shaped.’
    • ‘The Bertram 31 and its prototype were designed with a remarkable 23-degree angle of deadrise at the transom with three lifting strakes on each side from the keel to the chine.’
    1. 1.1 A horizontal beam reinforcing the stern of a boat.
      • ‘But the second boat was deeper down in the peat, and although twisted and snapped by the river over the course of time was still complete, with a transom and wooden cross-braces.’
      joist, purlin, girder, spar, support, strut, stay, brace, scantling, batten, lintel, stringer, baulk, board, timber, plank, lath, rafter
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A strengthening crossbar, in particular one set above a window or door.
      Compare with mullion
      • ‘Both wails have fixed glazing with custom built mullions and transoms.’
      • ‘They first replaced a single entry door with transom-topped French doors; then they lowered windows over the sink by a foot, adding a transom to fill in the void.’
      • ‘Puddling style draperies over the windows and original shutters control light, and transoms over the doors help the air to circulate.’
      • ‘A door was supposed to have a transom and a lintel and a keyhole and stiles and a handle.’
      • ‘The head casing that separates the transoms from the French doors runs at the same 7-foot height around the entire space, blending with the built-in bookshelves.’
      • ‘Pairs of narrow French doors topped with transoms line one wall of the main room, offering easy access to the deck and playing up the room's dramatic vaulted ceiling.’
      • ‘Now, in summer the openings are free of mullions or transoms and frame the lush foliage beyond.’
      • ‘Both doors are topped by elliptical transoms deeply recessed into paneled openings and embraced by taut curving stone arches.’
    3. 1.3North American
      short for transom window
      • ‘Along one wall, new floor-to-ceiling windows topped by arched transoms bring natural light deep into the room.’
      • ‘On the exterior is a combination of standard metal building components and antique and new mahogany doors and transoms.’
      • ‘Entries often showcase glass in the door, plus sidelights and transoms (windows over the door).’
      • ‘If the doors and the transoms above weren't exactly the right height, you'd have a totally different feeling.’
      • ‘Curtain walls, sliding doors, transoms, and more can be finished in dark bronze or clear anodized and painted bronze or white.’


  • over the transom

    • informal Offered or sent without prior agreement; unsolicited.

      ‘the editors receive about ten manuscripts a week over the transom’
      • ‘But it's important to keep some perspective, even as another load of subpoenas and rotten tomatoes comes in over the transom.’
      • ‘I get a lot of stuff over the transom, and this year I am going to do my best to thank everyone who's contributed material to the site.’
      • ‘These projects come in over the transom in a weird way.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the money coming in the door could not meet the bills flying over the transom.’
      • ‘An apology came over the transom about an hour later.’
      • ‘Did he decide to hear every preemption case that comes over the transom?’
      • ‘And more counterexamples are coming in over the transom all the time.’
      • ‘The very large outboard engine weighed down the stern and waves were lapping over the transom.’
      • ‘But once everyone adjusts, those couple hundred emails will mean nothing more than the couple dozen letters that might have physically come in over the transom in the old days.’
      • ‘So when this tape came over the transom, they were saying, ‘We've got a scoop!’’


Late Middle English (earlier as traversayn): from Old French traversin, from the verb traverser ‘to cross’ (see traverse).