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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
    • 2014 September 7, Natalie Angier, “The Moon comes around again [print version: Revisiting a moon that still has secrets to reveal: Supermoon revives interest in its violent origins and hidden face, International New York Times, 10 September 2014, p. 8]”, in The New York Times[1]:
      And should the moon happen to hit its ever-shifting orbital perigee at the same time that it lies athwart from the sun, we are treated to a so-called supermoon, a full moon that can seem close enough to embrace – as much as 12 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the average full moon.




  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
    • Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)
      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.


  • 1816, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan
    But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted / Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
  • 1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter V”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
    Breezes blowing from beds of iris quickened her breath with their perfume; she saw the tufted lilacs sway in the wind, and the streamers of mauve-tinted wistaria swinging, all a-glisten with golden bees; she saw a crimson cardinal winging through the foliage, and amorous tanagers flashing like scarlet flames athwart the pines.

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