Printable Version
Pronunciation: trayps Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: To tramp, having been put out, walk reluctantly, pompously, or angrily, to gallivant unhappily.

Notes: The Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster now accept trapes as an alternate spelling of today's word, so I won't have to remind you not to forget the I. This verb may be used as a noun, referring either to an act of traipsing or, like the thousands of other pejorative terms for bad women, to refer to a slovenly woman.

In Play: Traipsing, like gallivanting, usually implies walking with attitude: "Oh, yes, didn't that 'shy' Anne Y. Ohming traipse right over to Phil Ander's house and tell his poor wife that she saw Phil having lunch with Wanda Round at the Dunham Inn." One of the attitudes associated with this word is flagrance: "Can you believe the way Maud Lynn Dresser is traipsing around town in that new diamond necklace her husband bought her for her birthday?"

Word History: Today's Good Word is an English reduction of Old French trespasser "cross, traverse, transgress", made up of tres- "beyond, over" + passer "to by, pass". Tres- is a French makeover of Latin trans- "across, beyond", which Latin created out of PIE tra-, a variant of tere- "through, over". The PIE word is also the source of English through and thorough, Welsh trwy "through", Irish tri "through", Gujarati (India) dvara "through", and German durch "through". The French verb reflects minor tinkering with Vulgar Latin passare "to step, walk", created from Classical Latin passus "step, pace". Passus is based on PIE pot-s-, a suffixed form of pet-/pot- "wide, spread out", source also of Greek petalon "leaf", English pan, and Spanish paella. (Now a word of thanks to Anna Jung, a prolific contributor of Good Words as fascinating as today's.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!