This page has 10 definitions of athwart in English. Athwart is an adverb and preposition. Examples of how to use athwart in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .
From Late Middle English athwert, athirt, from a- (prefix meaning ‘in the direction of, toward’) + thwert (“crosswise; (cooking) across the grain”, adverb). Thwert is derived from thwert (“crosswise, transverse; Counter, opposing; contrary, obstinate, stubborn”, adjective), borrowed from Old Norse þvert (“across, athwart”), originally the neuter form of þverr (“across, transverse”), from Proto-Germanic *þwerhaz (“cross; adverse”) (altered or influenced by Proto-Germanic *þweraną (“to stir; to swirl; to turn”)), from Proto-Germanic *þerh-, probably from Proto-Indo-European *terkʷ- (“to spin; to turn”). The English word is analysable as a- (prefix meaning ‘in the direction of, toward’) + thwart (“placed or situated across something else”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əˈθwɔːt/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /əˈθwɔɹt/
- Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)t
- From side to side, often in an oblique manner; across or over.
- Synonyms: (obsolete) overthwart, transversely
- Above, the stars appeared to move slowly athwart.
- We placed one log on the ground, and another athwart, forming a crude cross.
- 1611, Thomas Coryate [i.e., Thomas Coryat], “My Obseruations of Padua”, in Coryats Crudities Hastily Gobled Vp in Five Moneths Trauells […], London: […] W[illiam] S[tansby for the author], OCLC 702319809, lines 9–16:
- In the fore part of his garment vvhich couered his breaſt he vvore pretie taſſels inſteed of buttons, like to thoſe that our Engliſh Souldiers doe vveare about their bandeleers, in vvhich they put their gunnepovvder. Theſe taſſels came dovvne athvvart ouer his breaſt; truely I did invvardly reioyce to ſee his pourtraiture.
- 1650, Thomas Browne, “Of the Same [i.e., the Blacknesse of Negroes]”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: […], 2nd edition, London: […] A[braham] Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, […], OCLC 152706203, 6th book, page 282:
- Thus the Aſſe having a peculiar mark of a croſſe made by a black liſt down his back, and another athwart, or at right angles down his ſhoulders; common opinion aſcribes this figure unto a peculiar ſignation; ſince that beaſt had the honour to bear our Saviour on his back.
- 1796, S[amuel] T[aylor] Coleridge, “Lines on a Friend who Died of a Frenzy Fever Induced by Calumnious Reports”, in Poems on Various Subjects, London: […] G[eorge] G[eorge] and J[ohn] Robinsons, and J[oseph] Cottle, […], OCLC 221351092, page 33:
- […] Frenzy, fierce-ey'd child of moping pain, / Darts her hot lightning flaſh athvvart the brain.
- 1827–1879 (date written), Alfred Tennyson, “Part I”, in The Lover’s Tale, London: C[harles] Kegan Paul & Co., […], published 1879, OCLC 771863316, page 10:
- They come, they crowd upon me all at once— / Moved from the cloud of unforgotten things, / That sometimes on the horizon of the mind / Lies unfolded, often sweeps athwart in storm— […]
- 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “A London Life”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. […], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, […], OCLC 21345056, page 159:
- But he had left the green wood, and the thousand inspirations of the wild flowers, and the shadows that flit athwart the drooping boughs, for scenes whose inspirations were thought, toil, and suffering.
- 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, “Walking the Plank”, in She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, OCLC 1167497017, page 268:
- Just as the first ray of the rising sun shot like a golden arrow athwart this storied desolation we gained the further gateway of the outer wall, […]
- Across the path of something, so as to impede progress.
- a fleet standing athwart our course
- 1791, Homer; W[illiam] Cowper, transl., “[The Iliad.] Book III.”, in The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Translated into Blank Verse, […], volume I, London: […] J[oseph] Johnson, […], OCLC 779243096, lines 90–92, page 69:
- [W]ith his ſpear / Advanced athvvart puſh'd back the Trojan van, / And all ſtood faſt.
- (figuratively) Against the anticipated or appropriate course of something; improperly, perversely, wrongly.
- c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, “Measvre for Measure”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iii], page 63, column 2:
- The Baby beates the Nurſe, and quite athvvart / Goes all decorum.
- From one side to the other side of; across.
- Synonym: (obsolete) overthwart
- The stars moved slowly athwart the sky.
- c. 1595–1596, W. Shakespere [i.e., William Shakespeare], A Pleasant Conceited Comedie Called, Loues Labors Lost. […] (First Quarto), London: […] W[illiam] W[hite] for Cut[h]bert Burby, published 1598, OCLC 61366361; republished as Shakspere’s Loves Labours Lost (Shakspere-Quarto Facsimiles; no. 5), London: W[illiam] Griggs, […], , OCLC 1154977408, [Act IV, scene iii]:
- Did neuer Sonnet for her ſake compile, / Nor neuer lay his vvreathed armes athvvart / His louing boſome, to keepe dovvne his hart.
- 1736, Alexander Pope, “The Rape of the Lock […]”, in The Works of Alexander Pope Esq. […], London: […] J[ohn] and P[aul] Knapton, H. Lintot, J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, and S. Draper, published 1751, OCLC 1006960022, canto II, lines 75–76 and 81–82, page 142:
- Ye knovv the ſpheres and various taſks aſſign'd / By lavvs eternal to th' aërial kind. / […] / Some leſs refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light / Purſue the ſtars that ſhoot athvvart the night, […]
- 1797, S[amuel] T[aylor] Coleridge, “Kubla Khan: Or A Vision in a Dream”, in Christabel: Kubla Khan, a Vision: The Pains of Sleep, London: […] John Murray, […], by William Bulmer and Co. […], published 1816, OCLC 1380031, page 56:
- But oh that deep romantic chasm which slanted / Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! / A savage place! as holy and inchanted / As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted / By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
- 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “Afterglow”, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326, page 168:
- 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.
- Across the course or path of, so as to meet; hence (figuratively), to the attention of.
- 1642, Thomas Fuller, “The True Church Antiquary”, in The Holy State, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: […] Roger Daniel for John Williams, […], OCLC 1238111360, book II, paragraph 5, page 71:
- For here our ſouls hath but one eye (the Apoſtle ſaith, vve knovv in part) be not proud if that chance to come athvvart thy ſeeing ſide, vvhich meets with the blind ſide of another.
- 1794 December 24 (date written), S[amuel] T[aylor] Coleridge, “Religious Musings. A Desultory Poem, Written on the Christmas Eve of 1794.”, in Poems, […], 2nd edition, London: […] N. Briggs, for J[oseph] Cottle, […], and Messrs. Robinsons, […], published 1797, OCLC 3825526, lines 383–384, page 145:
- O Years! the blest preeminence of Saints! / Ye sweep athwart my gaze, so heavenly-bright, […]
- Across the course or path of, so as to oppose.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 681–684:
- 1902, William James, “Lectures XIV and XV: The Value of Saintliness”, in The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature […], New York, N.Y.; London: Longmans, Green, and Co. […], OCLC 5539250, page 330:
- 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.
- 2005, Tony Judt, “The Spectre of Revolution”, in Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, New York, N.Y.: The Penguin Press, →ISBN, page 395:
- The new fashions were perforce addressed to the more prosperous young: the children of Europe’s white middle-class, who could afford records, concerts, shoes, clothes, make-up and modish hair-styling. But the presentation of these wares cut ostentatiously athwart conventional lines.
- Across; through.
- 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], 3rd edition, London: […] W[illiam] Taylor […], published 1719, OCLC 838630407, page 19:
- About three in the Afternoon he came up vvith us, and bringing too by Miſtake, juſt athvvart our Quarter, inſtead of athvvart our Stern, as he intended, vve brought 8 of our Guns to bear on that Side, and pour'd in a Broadſide upon him, vvhich made him ſheer off again, after returning our Fire, and pouring in alſo his ſmall Shot from near 200 Men vvhich he had on Board.
- 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, page 8]”, in The New York Times, New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, ISSN 0362-4331, OCLC 971436363, archived from the original on 22 June 2022:
- 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.
- Opposed to.
- 1862, Thomas Carlyle, “Carnival Phenomena in War-time”, in History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, volume III, London: Chapman and Hall, […], OCLC 156109991, book XIV, pages 645–646:
- [S]he, athwart many impediments, An ardent rider, often on horseback, at paces furiously swift; her beautiful face tanned by the weather. Very devout too; honest to be bone, athwart all her prejudices.
- Across; through.
- (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.
- 1864 May – 1865 November, Charles Dickens, “The Same Respected Friend in More Aspects than One”, in Our Mutual Friend. […], volume II, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1865, OCLC 1016551263, book the third (A Long Lane), page 19:
- [H]e [a boat] come right athwart the steamer's bows and she cut him in two.
- ^ “athwert, adv.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “a-, pref.(2), in adverbs”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “thwert, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “thwart, adv., prep., and adj.”, in OED Online
, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1912; “thwart, prep. and adv.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “athwart, adv. and prep.”, in OED Online
, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “athwart, prep. and adv.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.