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From Middle English traveler, travelour, travailere, travailour (worker", also "traveller), equivalent to travel +‎ -er. Compare Anglo-Norman travailur, travailour, Old French travailleor, travelleeur, travelier.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈtɹævələ/, /ˈtɹævlə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈtɹævəlɚ/, /ˈtɹævl̩ɚ/
  • (file)


traveller (plural travellers)

Young travellers at Lusaka Airport (1)
  1. One who travels, especially to distant lands.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book II, Canto XII”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, stanza 31, pages 370–371:
      They were faire Ladies, till they fondly ſtriu’d / With th’Heliconian maides for mayſtery; / Of whom they ouer-comen, were depriu’d / Of their proud beautie, and th’one moyity / Transform’d to fiſh, for their bold ſurquedry, / But th’vpper halfe their hew retayned ſtill, / And their ſweet skill in wonted melody; / Which euer after they abuſd to ill, / T’allure weake traueillers, whom gotten they did kill.
    • 1678, John Bunyan, “The Author’s Apology for His Book”, in The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: [], London: [] Nath[aniel] Ponder [], →OCLC; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, [], 1928, →OCLC:
      This Book will make a Travailer of thee, / If by its Counſel thou wilt ruled be; / It will direct thee to the Holy Land, / If thou wilt its Directions understand: / Yea, it will make the ſloathful, active be; / The Blind alſo, delightful things to ſee.
    • 1892, James Yoxall, chapter 5, in The Lonely Pyramid:
      The desert storm was riding in its strength; the travellers lay beneath the mastery of the fell simoom. Whirling wreaths and columns of burning wind, rushed around and over them.
    • 1980, Peter Hopkirk, Foreign Devils on the Silk Road[1], Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, published 1984, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, pages 9–10:
      Surrounding the Taklamakan on three sides are some of the highest mountain ranges in the world, with the Gobi desert blocking the fourth. Thus even the approaches to it are dangerous. Many travellers have perished on the icy passes which lead down to it from Tibet, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Russia, either by freezing to death or by missing their foothold and hurtling into a ravine below. In one disaster, in the winter of 1839, an entire caravan of forty men was wiped out by an avalanche, and even now men and beasts are lost each year.
      No traveller has a good word to say for the Taklamakan. Sven Hedin, one of the few Europeans to have crossed it, called it ‘the worst and most dangerous desert in the world’. Stein, who came to know it even better, considered the deserts of Arabia 'tame' by comparison. Sir Percy Sykes, the geographer, and one-time British Consul-General at Kashgar, called it 'a Land of Death', while his sister Ella, herself a veteran desert traveller, described it as 'a very abomination of desolation'.
      Apart from the more obvious perils, such as losing one’s way and dying of thirst, the Taklamakan has special horrors to inflict on those who trespass there. In his book Buried Treasures of Chinese Turkestan, von Le Coq describes the nightmare of being caught in that terror of all caravans, the kara-buran, or black hurricane.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:traveller.
  2. (dated) A salesman who travels from place to place on behalf of a company.
  3. (Britain) Someone who lives (particularly in the UK) in a caravan, bus or other vehicle rather than a fixed abode.
  4. (Ireland) Alternative letter-case form of Traveller
    • 2010, R. Todd Felton, A Journey Into Ireland's Literary Revival, →ISBN, page 213:
      It provoked criticism for its portrayal of a woman who leaves her marriage for life with a solitary traveler. Irish women did not do those sorts of things, the audiences felt (although the plot came from a story told to Synge on Inis Meain).
    • 2012, Mark Connelly, The IRA on Film and Television: A History, →ISBN, page 212:
      Kevin chases after him through a forest and finds the horse with Joseph Maguire (Ian Holm), a poetry-reciting traveler (Irish gypsy).
    • 2012, Maria Pramaggiore, Irish and African American Cinema, →ISBN, page 152:
      ...settled Irish people of Southern Ireland treat the traveler boys with racist hostility (2001 180–81).
  5. A list and record of instructions that follows a part in a manufacturing process.
  6. (electrical engineering) One of the wires connecting the two members of a pair of three-way switches.
  7. (nautical) A metal ring that moves freely on part of a ship’s rigging.
  8. (television, theater) A rail or track for a sliding curtain.
    • 1977, New York Theatre Critics' Reviews, volumes 38-39, page 134:
      That would detract from the austerity of Rudkin's study, and a curtain on a traveler is always slid across the stage []
  9. (bridge) A sheet of paper that is circulated with the board of cards, on which players record their scores.
    • 2008, David Galt, Teach Yourself VISUALLY Bridge, →ISBN, page 263:
      At the conclusion of play, the scores from all the travelers get entered into a computer.
  10. (US, Mississippi Delta) A styrofoam cup filled with liquor and usually ice, to be taken away from a place.
    • 2015, Richard Grant, Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta:
      Nowhere else in the world had I seen such gigantic measures of liquor poured, such widespread enthusiasm for Bloodies and Mimosas on weekend mornings, or such firm insistence on giving sixteen-ounce Styrofoam cups loaded with iced liquor to guests leaving a party, so they might have a "traveler" for the drive home.
      At a bar in Yazoo City, the bartender asked me if I wanted to "go tall" with my bourbon on the rocks. I didn't know what he meant, but it sounded encouraging. "Sure," I said, "Let's go tall." He filled up a pint glass with ice. Then he filled it to the brim with bourbon. When I got up to leave with about half the drink gone, he poured the rest of it into a Styrofoam cup, assuming I would want a traveler.


See also[edit]