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Late Middle English, from Latin trānsversus (turned across; going or lying across or crosswise). Doublet of transversal.


  • (adjective):
    • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /tɹanzˈvɜːs/, /tɹɑːnzˈvɜːs/, /tɹansˈvɜːs/, /tɹɑːnsˈvɜːs/
    • (file)
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    • (file)
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    • (General American) IPA(key): /tɹænsˈvɝs/, /tɹænzˈvɝs/, /ˈtɹænsˌvɝs/, /ˈtɹænzˌvɝs/
  • (noun):
  • (verb):
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)s


transverse (not comparable)

  1. Situated or lying across; side to side, relative to some defined "forward" direction; perpendicular or slanted relative to the "forward" direction; identified with movement across areas.
    Antonym: longitudinal
    • 1960 November, “New electric multiple-units for British Railways: Glasgow Suburban”, in Trains Illustrated, page 660:
      The units have transverse seats, two and three astride the passageway with single or double longitudinal seats alongside the two entrance vestibules in each car.
    • 2023 February 22, Paul Stephen, “TfL reveals first of new B23s for Docklands Light Railway”, in RAIL, number 977, page 12:
      Unlike the older trains, the new units have walk-through carriages and longitudinal rather than transverse seating.
  2. (anatomy) Made at right angles to the long axis of the body.
  3. (geometry) (of an intersection) Not tangent, so that a nondegenerate angle is formed between the two things intersecting. (For the general definition, see w:Transversality (mathematics)#Definition.)
  4. (obsolete) Not in direct line of descent; collateral.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



transverse (plural transverses)

  1. Anything that is transverse or athwart.
  2. (geometry) The longer, or transverse, axis of an ellipse.



transverse (third-person singular simple present transverses, present participle transversing, simple past and past participle transversed) (transitive)

  1. To lie or run across; to cross.
  2. To traverse or thwart.
  3. To overturn.
    • 1702, Charles Leslie, The Case of the Regale and of the Pontificate Stated[1], page 226:
      And so long shall her censures, when justly passed, have their effect: how then can they be altered or transversed, suspended or superseded, by a temporal government, that must vanish and come to nothing?
  4. To alter or transform.
  5. (obsolete) To change from prose into verse, or from verse into prose.
    • 1671, George Villiers, The Rehearsal[3], published 1770, act 1, scene 1, page 12:
      Bayes: Why, thus, Sir; nothing so easy when understood; I take a book in my hand, either at home or elsewhere, for that's all one, if there be any wit in't, as there is no book but has some, I transverse it; that is, if it be prose, put it into verse, (but that takes up some time) and if it be verse, put it into prose.




transverse (plural transverses)

  1. transverse

Further reading[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From trānsversus (turned across) +‎ (-ly, adverbial suffix).

Alternative forms[edit]



trānsversē (comparative trānsversius, superlative trānsversissimē)

  1. crosswise, transversely, obliquely
    Synonym: trānsversim

Etymology 2[edit]

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.




  1. vocative masculine singular of trānsversus