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



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
  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.
  4. (obsolete) Not in direct line of descent; collateral.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



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shall her censures, when justly passed, have their effect: how then can they be altered or transversed, suspended or superseded, by a temporal government, that must vanish and come to nothing?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, Villiers, George, 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.




Etymology 1Edit

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

Alternative formsEdit


trānsversē (comparative trānsversius, superlative trānsversissimē)

  1. Crosswise, transversely, obliquely.
    Synonym: trānsversim

Etymology 2Edit

See the etymology of the main entry.



  1. vocative masculine singular of trānsversus