Definition of travois in US English:



  • A type of sledge formerly used by North American Indians to carry goods, consisting of two joined poles pulled by a horse or dog.

    • ‘However, to date, the provincial government is dragging its travois, so to speak.’
    • ‘Traveling over great distances, caravans of men, women, and children, amid crowds of dogs, herds of horses, and the clatter of travois, crossed the high, windswept passes punctuating the Continental Divide.’
    • ‘You should have it with you all the time, and you never know when you may need to cut a wading staff, build an emergency shelter or even make a travois to get an injured buddy back to camp.’
    • ‘Described as ‘roads’ by fur traders, these trails were further rutted by the dragging of lodge poles and numerous travois behind laboring horses.’
    • ‘Behind the huge caravan of people, travois, and pony herds, some 120 freight wagons carried supplies and indigent Indians.’
    • ‘The Indians also have the skill to pack up their tepees and travois and set them up elsewhere.’
    • ‘Being ‘light and young and active,’ he climbed up a travois leaning against the stockade and sprang over and into the willows.’
    • ‘Women rolled lodge skins, secured packs, and hitched travois.’
    • ‘When he wanted to travel, he called for his braves, and they would carry him upon a travois, an A-shaped frame made of long poles and a deerskin platform.’
    • ‘Prior to the introduction of horses to North America, tipis were small, 8 to 14 feet in diameter, since the poles and buffalo skin coverings were pulled on travois from one encampment to another by dogs or women.’
    • ‘A story of Ka-mina-kus, a legendary warrior, seems to be taken directly from Grinnell's account (Grinnell 107-08; Paget 151-52), as does a description of the travois, a type of dog-pulled or horse-drawn vehicle.’
    • ‘Domesticated dogs carried Blackfoot belongings by pulling a loaded travois consisting of two long poles attached to the dog's sides.’
    • ‘With their wounded strapped to travois, the Nez Perces made their way through the Big Hole and Horse Prairie valleys.’
    • ‘The families walked the 140-mile trip and children and elders rode on lodge-pole travois dragged by ponies and loaded with tents, kettles and food.’
    • ‘They all then prepare to return to Drexal making travois for the injured.’
    • ‘For example, using descriptions gleaned from his extensive research, Henderson attempts to replicate an Hidatsa dog travois (a wood and sinew A-frame sled) and then train a short-haired Husky to pull the outfit.’
    • ‘As the Northern village followed down the White River in the wake of the Red Cloud column, this group traveled at the very rear of the procession, a buckskin horse hauling on a travois the bundle that contained the body of Crazy Horse.’


Mid 19th century: alteration of synonymous travail, from French.