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From a- + thwart.



athwart (comparative more athwart, superlative most athwart)

  1. (archaic) From side to side; across.
    Above, the stars appeared to move slowly athwart.
    We placed one log on the ground, and another athwart, forming a crude cross.
  2. (archaic) Across the path (of something).
    a fleet standing athwart our course




  1. (archaic) From one side to the other side of.
    The stars moved slowly athwart the sky.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iii:
      Knit with a golden bauldricke, which forelay / Athwart her snowy brest, and did diuide / Her daintie paps []
    • Tennyson
      At eve the beetle boometh / Athwart the thicket lone.
  2. (nautical) Across the line of a ship's course or across its deck.
    The damaged mainmast fell athwart the deck, destroying the ship's boat.
  3. (archaic) Across the path or course of; opposing.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 283:
      It is the voice of human experience within us, judging and condemning all gods that stand athwart the pathway along which it feels itself to be advancing.


  • 1816, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan
    But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
    Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
  • 1907, Robert Chambers, chapter 5, The Younger Set[1]:
    Breezes blowing from beds of iris quickened her breath with their perfume ; … ; she saw a crimson cardinal winging through the foliage, and amorous tanagers flashing like scarlet flames athwart the pines.

Derived terms[edit]