Definition of traverse in English:



  • 1Travel across or through.

    ‘he traversed the forest’
    • ‘In traversing the country, you can expect to pass through San Jose a few times, so enjoy yourself.’
    • ‘Both traversed the forest swiftly and easily, scurrying over rocks and against foliage with utmost grace.’
    • ‘The total area traversed by participants covers thousands of square miles.’
    • ‘In 1991, he traversed the State, covering 2,850 km on a bicycle.’
    • ‘In total they covered 67.5 miles, traversing the loch three times, in water that was only a shivering 11 degrees centigrade.’
    • ‘Before the advent of roads or railways, the sheer difficulty in traversing Peru's geography was one of the greatest obstacles to solidifying a national identity.’
    • ‘I watched the man with furtive caution as we traversed the forest, for I didn't trust him, even if he did not seem villainous.’
    • ‘Starting from Taiwan, he traversed the Indian Ocean after passing through the Strait of Malacca.’
    • ‘Before I knew it, we had traversed Yellowhead Pass, one of the lowest in the Continental Divide, yet, at 3,718 feet, the highest point the train crosses.’
    • ‘After three days in the forest, they had spent another four traversing the extensive foothills before reaching the Mountains.’
    • ‘From Trowunna I head north, leaving behind the forested hills of the interior to traverse an expanse of rolling countryside strikingly reminiscent of England.’
    • ‘He spends his summers traversing the Midwest in his studio Winnebago, painting lush forest scenes resplendent with deer, lakes, and waterfalls on things like garage doors.’
    • ‘That will see him traversing the Americas, covering the 25,000 kilometres from Ushuia, the world's most southern city, up to the icy wastes of Alaska.’
    • ‘Deserts were crossed, mountains were scaled, forests were traversed, icebergs were negotiated.’
    • ‘‘Joseph,’ Conall spoke up, as they reached the edge of the forest, having traversed the distance in silence.’
    • ‘It is possible to traverse the entire range by walking the two-thousand-mile Appalachian Trail.’
    • ‘He would repeatedly cheer us up by assuring us that our team was the first to uninterruptedly traverse this difficult, and unique, coast-to-coast route.’
    • ‘It has been a long road to freedom, traversing the difficult terrain of learning to live with each other, learning to accept each other.’
    • ‘By the time we had traversed the thickly forested coastal plain it was dark, and nothing could be seen through the windows except the black night.’
    • ‘Wild animals and birds traversing contiguous forest stretches have no clue that there might be restrictions.’
    travel across, travel over, cross, journey across, journey over, make one's way across, pass over, go across, negotiate
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    1. 1.1 Extend across or through.
      ‘a moving catwalk that traversed a vast cavernous space’
      • ‘Long, gently inclined staircases traverse the interior space, affording glimpses through slits in the gallery ceilings that act as peepholes to events above or below.’
      • ‘In order to take advantage of the more moderate terrain and the available real estate, many of the McCoy Park trails traverse the ridge top and lower meadow several times.’
      • ‘I choose instead a flat six-mile track traversing Licuala State Forest Park, where the giant fan palms and prehistoric cycad trees start a few feet from the parking lot.’
      • ‘One current regime traversing the globe and in particular, the United States, is the Federal Communications Commission.’
      • ‘The total Solar eclipse falls on November 23rd and will be visible from within a narrow corridor which traverses the far Southern Hemisphere.’
      • ‘Empathy with the landscape is expressed not only through the extended architectural promenade that traverses the contours of the site, but also through the material character of the Natatorium.’
      • ‘This area, the more southerly of the two, is on a steep slope and traversed by a narrow street.’
      • ‘In small towns, concrete buildings are strung along the few roads that traverse the islands.’
      • ‘People from elsewhere may be surprised at how good skiing is on the edge of the prairie in northwestern Minnesota, on trails that traverse rolling glacial moraines near Maplelag.’
      • ‘Precontact culture was heavily influenced by the natural terrain as the Ojibwa adapted their lifestyle to survive in a heavily forested land traversed by a network of lakes and rivers.’
      • ‘She stood in the middle of the path that traversed the park, covering her face with her hands.’
      • ‘The show presents its monumental architecture, its military might, the way it controlled and administered its dominions through provincial satrapies and the network of roads that traversed its vast distances.’
      • ‘In Celebration, a narrow band of hot pink, blue and white, trimmed in red, diagonally traverses the glowing disk.’
      • ‘Highway 50 traverses a dozen of these valleys and passes; driven in a day they succeed one another like musical variations, with their subtle differences of colour and form.’
      • ‘The country has a rugged topography, with three Andean mountain ranges traversing the western half, although the country's highest peaks are located off the Caribbean coast in the Sierra Nevada.’
      • ‘Numerous active and historic gas and oil utility corridors traverse forests of the region.’
      extend across, lie across, stretch across, go across, cross, cut across
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    2. 1.2no object , with adverbial of direction Cross a hill or mountain by means of a series of sideways movements from one practicable line of ascent or descent to another.
      ‘I often use this route, eventually traversing around the cliff’
      • ‘So when you arrive at the gym, take about 5 minutes to traverse at the base of the wall.’
      • ‘Surveying as we went we soon reached the pool and had no problem traversing around.’
      • ‘We roped up at the base, did our cross-check, then climbed up a short wall and across easy slopes, traversing upward and left until we reached an obvious belay.’
      • ‘From here on out it's pretty much easy stuff, so just get up however you feel like it by traversing to the right.’
      • ‘This looks quite frightening from the top, but it is easily descended by traversing to the far side of the hole.’
      • ‘Yet more traversing on easy ledges above the stream channel enables one to gain the top of ‘Lake Pot’, which lands, funnily enough, in a lake!’
      • ‘He then continued along the wall ahead, and after about 50 m or so began traversing around an overhang.’
      • ‘By traversing over the pitch a dry crawl is reached, containing a few formations, which shortly divides at a T-junction.’
      • ‘Right before the steepest section, we were able to traverse onto a rock ledge and have lunch.’
      • ‘I lose an hour traversing left to a dubious bridge, from which I leap onto the face, metal-clawed hands and feet stabbing into the snow.’
      • ‘Pass your right foot in front of your left (or perhaps, in extreme circumstances, behind); this is a ‘step-through’, used a lot in traversing.’
      • ‘About fifteen feet up the heap is a crawl-through, which leads to more traversing in a fissure passage, and a straddle down a short chimney onto blocks.’
      • ‘From there, we traversed across ledges and slabs toward the next belay.’
      • ‘The same point can reached from below the short wall at the top of Jeune Ecole by traversing rightwards 10m.’
      • ‘A continuation of the river may be found at the bottom of the mud slope, but the way on is to traverse round to the right.’
      • ‘Point Release avalanches are not very dangerous, but can knock you over, so watch out for them if you are traversing along a cliff side!’
      • ‘The time-pressed can try bouldering, which entails traversing and short ascents that can be completed sans rope.’
      • ‘As the gully became wider on the descent, we were forced to traverse ever farther left, on tiny broken ledges, eventually reaching the top of the wall.’
      • ‘Once on the slab, I should have traversed about 15 feet left and then gone up.’
    3. 1.3 Ski diagonally across (a slope), with only a slight descent.
      • ‘Witnesses saw an avalanche start as a skier left the pistes and traversed the slope.’
      • ‘They were traversing Windy Ridge in Uintah back country known for heavy avalanche activity, he said.’
      • ‘When the time came to retrieve the plates, we had to traverse slopes that had more than a meter of new snow.’
      • ‘Speaking of which, even with the late arrival of winter, Pamporovo was definitely fit for skiing last weekend with tons of snow and every ski run ready to be traversed.’
      • ‘Although most skiers traverse the Inside Road from north to south, both directions demand stamina with substantial elevation gains and losses.’
      • ‘Four of the group had already traversed the slope on skis; the fifth was on crampons when a small snow slab of some 30 cm depth took him and another trainee over cliffs.’
    4. 1.4 Consider or discuss the whole extent of (a subject)
      ‘he would traverse a number of subjects and disciplines’
      • ‘Your Honour, there will be a need to traverse those issues in argument.’
      • ‘It was a matter traversed in the affidavit material.’
      • ‘I do not intend to traverse the issues already covered by Dr Wayne Mapp.’
      • ‘Connell and Gibson deeply enrich our ability to traverse this seemingly infinite scholarly terrain.’
      • ‘In the final session, students debated the merits of acknowledging taha Maori in their practice, traversing issues raised by Johnstone and Read.’
      • ‘The thematic landscape traversed by scholars of cultural globalization is vast and the questions they raise are too numerous to be fleshed out in this short introduction.’
      • ‘The committee was also privy to Cabinet papers that had traversed the issue with a lot of scrutiny.’
      • ‘Although, understandably, the discussions traverse a wide area of opinion there seem to be four main conclusions that are put forward as the cause of the crisis.’
      • ‘Your Honour, I do not anticipate a dispute about the facts traversed by Mr Moore.’
      • ‘Debates about international justice typically range over the well-traversed terrain of distribution and redistribution.’
      • ‘Your Honour, the objection is that that is an assertion concerning factual matters which are traversed in judgments of the Full Court and the decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.’
      • ‘In any event, what can be said is that it did not play a role in the findings of fact about causal connections which had been much traversed in two trials and two appeals and are no longer contested.’
  • 2Move (something) back and forth or sideways.

    ‘a probe is traversed along the tunnel’
    • ‘Setting the time delay between the pump and the probe was achieved by varying the distance traversed by the probe beam with a motorized mechanical stage.’
    • ‘As the plane came within range, the searchlight traversed its flight path only to hit a cloud.’
    • ‘The reader traverses the beam in the opposite direction to that of the object under test to reduce image blur.’
    • ‘The machine also automates the process of traversing a focused and uniform hot-air stream along the length of the tubing to be laminated.’
    • ‘Each node would carry only one pointer field to traverse the list back and forth.’
    • ‘Probes were constructed, thankfully unmanned, that could traverse space for long enough to touch down on the face of a planet and act as a beacon, or as a receiving antenna for the light matter.’
    • ‘Oxygen is passed down the tube, which is rotated while an oxy-hydrogen flame is slowly traversed down its length.’
    1. 2.1 Turn (a large gun or other device on a pivot) to face a different direction.
      • ‘Vehicles would move to ‘points of domination’ (the intersections) to maximize the ability to traverse the turret and use the CITV.’
      • ‘I fought open hatch the whole way and ordered Red 1 to do the same, as we were very vulnerable from the flanks as we approached the market and could not traverse our turrets well there.’
      • ‘The casemate mounted a gun on a pivot which could be traversed to fire through an embrasure.’
      • ‘While patrolling narrow streets, it is nearly impossible to safely traverse the entire turret to engage enemy forces.’
      • ‘The close proximity of light poles, vending stands and buildings severely limited our ability to traverse the turret.’
      • ‘When we did traverse the aircraft, it took a thorough brief and exact timing of the pitch and roll of the ship.’
  • 3Law
    Deny (an allegation) in pleading.

    • ‘He said it was relevant that neither the Government nor the Bangalore Development Authority had specifically traversed the allegation of discrimination.’
    • ‘Cause of action has been held from the earliest time to mean every fact which is material to be proved to entitle the plaintiff to succeed - every fact which the defendant would have to traverse.’
    • ‘Each and every allegation herein contained is denied as if specifically traversed and the Claimant is put to the proof thereof.’
    • ‘The defendants traversed the allegation "that the ship was broken, damaged, and destroyed, and rendered incapable of pursuing the voyage, by any perils which the said assurers by the said policy did take upon themselves."’
    • ‘The first issue is that he was obviously in a great tactical difficulty - he would have been traversing his own case if he was going to suggest that something less than the commercial quantity could have been manufactured.’
    • ‘I there said that it is ‘every fact which it would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove, if traversed, in order to support his right to the judgment of the Court.’’
    1. 3.1archaic Oppose or thwart (a plan).
      • ‘Unfortunately his plans were traversed by the Pope.’
      • ‘When he discovered that the revolutions in Central Italy traversed his plan, he should have warned Victor Emanuel and Cavour that this new condition would warrant him in breaking his compact.’
      • ‘But his plans were traversed again and again by unforeseen complications, the failure of the most promising presumptions, and the perpetual shifting of apparently stable alliances.’
      foil, frustrate, baulk, stand in the way of, forestall
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  • 1An act of traversing something.

    • ‘The high traverse of the undulating, narrow ridge led to the final difficulties of the day.’
    • ‘As any seasoned Gotham pavement pounder will tell you, the traverse from, say, the Harlem River to the South Ferry Terminal is no easy stroll.’
    • ‘But he didn't answer, simply stumbled into the middle of the road, disrupting the monotonous traverse of the sedans and hatchbacks and wagons.’
    • ‘Right now, they will design the rover's traverses based on visual data from the images and will give her specific commands and directions.’
    • ‘From Osmaston's guide, it appeared that no one had made a complete traverse of the Stanley Plateau.’
    • ‘They'll find out soon enough, and the traverses across the featureless, flat topography of Meridiani Planum is going to make for ‘smooth sailing’ for the rover.’
    • ‘After a long traverse the path turns right and enters a stand of conifers.’
    • ‘Mr Tate, an experienced walker, has completed the same traverse undertaken by Mr Johnson.’
    • ‘On day seven the hiking group is met by a re-supply group at Bannerman's Pass and among those in the revictualling group is Ida de Villiers, who had buddied with Jenny on two previous traverses.’
    • ‘As well as his Taranaki successes Ian completed a grand traverse of Mount Cook: from The Hermitage to the mountain and back again in 28 hours, a climb that usually takes three days.’
    • ‘This spot, perhaps more than any other, has witnessed the traverse of the world's great armies on campaigns of conquest to and from South and Central Asia.’
    • ‘And indeed, our short traverse to my home was not without incident.’
    • ‘The explorers would undertake long traverses, thoroughly studying and recording the characteristics of the region around their landing site.’
    • ‘It was a traverse through a world of humility, patience and submission - a long and tedious journey to be undertaken with faith, conviction and cheerfulness.’
    • ‘The traverse of the ridge should be within the capabilities of any reasonably fit walker.’
    traversal, traverse, passage, voyage, journey
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    1. 1.1 A hill or mountain where traversing is necessary.
      ‘a narrow traverse made lethal by snow and ice’
      • ‘This was handy, but also meant that the heavy bag of rope I had lugged in, getting constantly trapped in the narrow rift below the traverses, was all for nothing - oh well!’
      • ‘An unprotectable traverse back across the route goes on for about 10m.’
      • ‘When they reached the steep traverse off the ridge that had been their only difficulty on the way up, Douglas Hadow again began to have trouble keeping his footing.’
      • ‘Finally, I rounded the giant granite corner of the traverse, relieved to find Ben in sight again.’
      • ‘The traverse was fine, it circled the gym - not too hard to stay on but fun enough to stay on all the way around.’
      • ‘A short traverse led to the foot of the cornice and I managed to ease my way across to it, virtually hanging from my ice axe.’
      • ‘The way on is a traverse round a mud bank to the left, which climbs into a passage above the calcite floor.’
      • ‘We made good time to the Skeleton Domes area and squeezed up into the Rat Race to reach a series of traverses and climbs that came close to exceeding my confidence factor.’
      • ‘Alan climbed up to a high traverse to see if they could be bypassed but there was no easy way on.’
      • ‘A traverse then leads to a ledge from which a short narrow descent may be rigged to the streamway below.’
      • ‘The way back follows a less popular route, via a rocky cleft above the lower lake, which begins with a traverse on which, I must confess, I tried to avoid looking down.’
      • ‘I duly followed, passing a man trying to negotiate the slabby traverse.’
      • ‘Long, scary traverses and razor sharp rock require the confidence and the security of half ropes.’
      • ‘This is best learned on an overhanging traverse, or at least, that's how I learned it.’
      • ‘Underground I was rather nervous at first but that soon disappeared except for a few places such as the first set of traverses, which for a normal fit person would be fine.’
      • ‘The final section of the traverse was a bit of a challenge: delicate, balancey moves with next to nothing for hands or feet.’
      • ‘We made the traverse out and were at the last climb for the easy path leading back to homebase.’
      • ‘It was his second time on the traverse and his return this summer was in preparation for a winter assault negotiating the eleven peaks.’
    2. 1.2 A movement following a diagonal course made by a skier descending a slope.
      • ‘He'd make a powerful traverse, knock off a good-sized avalanche, then turn around and make a few turns where the slide had scoured.’
      • ‘We drop through Navajo Basin to about 12,300 feet at the base of the face, making a few turns and traverses on crusty snow.’
      • ‘During his days at Camp Hale, Winter participated in the legendary ski traverse made by 33 soldiers from Hale to Aspen, in 1944.’
      • ‘For our backpacking trips and multi-day ski traverses we like the Nimbus Ozone.’
      • ‘Also, skiers doing long traverses with little emphasis on making turns found the lightweight edged Nordic skis to be a good tool.’
      • ‘I have second thoughts as I begin to cut a traverse up and across a powdery leeward slope.’
      • ‘Everybody, even our best skiers, cautiously sidestepped down the first narrow pitch, then made cautious traverses and kick turns.’
    3. 1.3 A zigzag course followed by a ship because winds or currents prevent it from sailing directly toward its destination.
  • 2A part of a structure that extends or is fixed across something.

    • ‘These were of brick, built on the surface but surrounded with a traverse and topped with a six foot thick shingle filled concrete sandwich roof.’
    • ‘The access to the feed was adapted to the size of animals with a traverse allowing only one animal to enter.’
    1. 2.1 A gallery extending from side to side of a church or other building.
  • 3A mechanism enabling a large gun to be turned to face a different direction.

    • ‘Each time the gun is fired, the tube must go into detente for cartridge ejection, and the power traverse of the turret is inoperable during ejection and reloading operations.’
    • ‘The program will also include a laser ignition system, electric drives for the howitzer's traverse and elevation and a powered projectile rammer.’
    • ‘The elevation and traverse are powered hydraulically.’
    • ‘The gun's traverse was steam-operated and took 3 hours to build up enough steam pressure to function.’
    1. 3.1 The sideways movement of a part in a machine.
      • ‘The AFCS displays the target information, selects the gun traverse and elevation and lays the weapon on the target.’
      • ‘During this climb, the traverse of the turret knocked Treacy off.’
      • ‘The turret has a 360 degree traverse and an elevation of - 15 to + 60 degrees.’
      • ‘The turret machine gun can also be operated from under armor by being mounted on a circular revolving ring for automatic traverse.’
      • ‘The gun's traverse was limited to a mere five degrees either side of zero.’
      • ‘The 14 mm gun has a full 360° traverse with an elevation of 60° for improved effectiveness in air defence.’
  • 4A single line of survey, usually plotted from compass bearings and chained or paced distances between angular points.

    • ‘There are several ways to obtain the starting data, and surveyors should make an effort to use the best data available to begin a traverse.’
    1. 4.1 A tract surveyed by traversing.
      • ‘In surveying a traverse, a series of measured short lines may be projected onto a single long line, connecting two main survey stations, and the long line is then treated as a measured line of the traverse.’
      • ‘Whilst surveying a traverse, the horizontal angle at station B, between two adjacent stations A and C, was measured as having a value of 153o 44' 50".’
  • 5Military
    A pair of right-angled bends incorporated in a trench to avoid enfilading fire.

    • ‘"Sir," announced an orderly, poking his head around a traverse in the trench, "dinner is served."’
    • ‘This ship is full of officers and men who are quite likely to be utterly ignorant of what was going on round the next traverse in the trench which they had occupied.’
  • 6

    variant spelling of travers


  • (of a curtain rod) allowing the curtain to be opened and closed by sliding it along the rod.

    • ‘There is so much on the market today - decorative traverse rods, pole sets, metal or wood rods.’
    • ‘If the draperies will hang from a conventional traverse rod, determine the finished length by measuring from the top of the rod to where you want the lower edge of the draperies.’
    • ‘Drapery panels are traditionally floor-length, lined and pinch-pleated, attached by hook to a traverse rod, with a pull cord.’


Middle English (in traverse (sense 3 of the verb)): from Old French traverser, from late Latin traversare; the noun is from Old French travers (masculine), traverse (feminine), partly based on traverser.