For example, in a novel, if someone is so powerful that no one can stop him, something like this would be said:

He [insert word] in the continent [or some other location].

"Moved unhinderedly" somewhat fits it, but it doesn't really seem like the right term.

The word I'm looking for describes a few things:

  • Should have an implication that the person himself is powerful

  • That person can go wherever he wishes to, and cannot be stopped because of his strength

  • That person can do whatever he wishes to, and like above, cannot be stopped because of his strength

The other word I have is "swept", i.e.:

He swept through the continent.

I used "swept" because when you sweep the floor, nothing stops you and everything is swept away, similar to the example. However, the dictionary definitions don't match up, so that isn't the word either.

Any suggestions?

  • Which dictionary did you consult? Definitions 2 and 2.1 from ODO seem to fit your description (but you still might prefer another word, just please edit to explain why). The question is: are you trying to describe someone who moved across the continent, or someone who came to the continent in this unhindered, powerful way? In the other case you might consider the idiom to sweep in.
    – Lucky
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 18:20
  • Swept across, implies conquest to me, eg Genghis Khan swept across Asia and eastern Europe!
    – RemarkLima
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 7:24
  • 1
    Would pranced work? :)
    – CodeAngry
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 14:29
  • Waltz perhaps. It connotes an easy and unrestricted movement. He waltzed his way around the continent.
    – Neil W
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 9:15

15 Answers 15


I suggest powered

He powered through Africa, driving all before him. (example made up by me)

power verb (STRENGTH)

[I usually + adv/prep] to act with great strength or in a forceful way:

Halfway through, she powered into the lead and went on to win the race.


Incidentally, I know you have already rejected it but swept is very commonly used in this situation, e.g.

After conquering Syria in 332 BCE, Alexander the Great swept down into Egypt with his army.

Ancient History Encyclopedia



Stormed, swept, blew, breezed, strode, powered, rampaged, stomped, sailed, barged et all, are all fine verbs for the singular act of moving through a place without resistance. Each has its own subtle connotation too, so pick wisely.

To indicate that someone can do so habitually, you may need more than a word.

To have free reign indicates that someone can do with something or go wherever they please within an area. He had free reign of the continent.

To be unimpeded is to encounter no resistance of movement. He travelled the continent unimpeded.

There is a particular meaning to the word check that indicates withholding or limiting something; hence the phrase unchecked power. He moved around the continent unchecked.

One of the beauties of the English language is that for a concept like this, you're not only likely to find dozens of existing examples of florid description, but there is still plenty of untilled fertile ground for further invention. If this concept is central to your story, perhaps coin your own!

  • Also, "whisked" and "trounced".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 21:46

Perhaps storm (as a verb)

to use force to enter a place and take control of it


While this is often used in the context of a battle or a police action, it can have a more figurative meaning, such as

His theatrical performances throughout Europe were amazing. He stormed the continent!

Or you might use the phrase take by storm. Collins offers these two definitions

  1. to capture or overrun by a violent assault

  2. to overwhelm and enthral


You might be able to user steamroller or steamroll.

Dictionary.com Unabridged:

verb (used without object)

  1. to proceed with implacable force.

He steamrolled across the continent.


Stride might be suitable. It has a lot of subtly different meanings but the 1st verb definition implies power and arrogance and the idiom "take in stride" implies confidence and success:

verb (used without object), strode, stridden, striding.
1. to walk with long steps, as with vigor, haste, impatience, or arrogance.
15. take in stride, to deal with calmly; cope with successfully: She was able to take her sudden rise to fame in stride.


Therefore, I think it has the desired connotations. The use in the example would be:

He strode through the continent.

  • 1
    Striding is walking, though. Even if we assume that the continent in question is the smallest one available, Australia, that’s still one hell of a walk! Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 21:17
  • @JanusBahsJacquet You're quite right. "Strode across" implies from end-to-end. Have changed to "strode through".
    – Avon
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 8:16
  • Maybe in the form of 'bestrode'. There is a classical reference that implies just what is wanted, I think: 'Alexander bestrode the world like a colossus.' (And later Caesar did again, in Shakespeare.) You can capture the more specific sense with the historical allusion. A colossus spans an entire harbor with one step, and the implication is not that he walked, but that getting to any place would be done easily, as if by taking a single step.
    – jobermark
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 16:52
  • Addressing @JanusBahsJacquet 's observation, If this historical sense is part of the unconscious inspiration, the form probably should be 'across'. A colossus steps right over the gap, not through it.
    – jobermark
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 16:58
  • @jobermark Depends how big the gap is and which way the colossus is going. (And if your unconsciously colossal historical inspiration is tied to Rhodes, that particular colossus didn't do anything with a gap—it stood firmly on land with its legs modestly closed.) Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 17:08

tear-assing or tearassing -UD

2: To move quickly about.

The First of the Ninth was a old cavalry division that traded in their horses for helicopters and went tear-assing around 'Nam looking for the shit... –Apocalypse Now

The Air Cav was very powerful and had the ability to [traverse] the countryside unhindered. They went wherever they wanted, did whatever they wanted to and could not be stopped easily.

I like most of the answers here but the majority of them would be best if followed by unhindered. Tearassing gets the point across without it: went tearassing about the countryside.

The adverb, unhinderingly just sounds wrong to me and I don't think unhinderedly is a word. Use the adjective, unhindered.


If it's just one person, travelling, (and not for example a whole army, conquering) then perhaps "ranged": e.g. "he ranged over Africa".

Alternatively (and more peacefully) "toured": e.g. "he toured Africa".


to advance (verb):

move forwards in a purposeful way

'the troops advanced on the capital'

inexorably (adverb):

in a way that is impossible to stop or prevent

Source: ODO

If you combine the above terms, the sentence given becomes:

'He advanced inexorably across the continent.'


I'd say roam. There is some air of freedom to it. Like a gypsy.


("Unhindered" does not need or allow the adverb suffix. You can move unhindered about the continent.)

The two closest words I have seen for this use are "bull" and "parade", with very different connotations.

"Bulling about the place" is going where you wish and doing as you will, despite the rules and knowing you will never suffer for any damage you might cause, as a bull might in his own pasture, unimpeded and unconcerned.

"Parading around a place" is making a show of your entitlement to do as you wish, since parades stop traffic, etc., and everyone works around them because they represent something important. This person is unimpeded, but is very much aware of and concerned with being unimpeded.

If it is more about his ability to move, than his actually doing so, you could use something like "had free rein". Metaphorically, his power is a horse that can take him anywhere, he need only choose. I don't think there is a single word related to this notion.


Well, “moving unhinderedly” is basically "coasting". However, your further description makes it clear that you are not talking about "unhinderedly" but rather about "not slowed down". "Swept through" is not bad but implies extensive impact. How about "barreled across"?


He marched across the continent, leaving stories in his wake. It is beyond your power to hinder a march, whether it is the determined march of an army, or the inexorable march of time.


To these great answers, I add charged.

"The unstoppable Juggernaut charged through continents, unstoppably."

I also propose a new verb: Juggernauted. I hope it helps you.


Try "he romped across the continent" — this clearly conveys that travel was free, easy and unimpeded but does not necessarily carry connotations of conquest. It has an upbeat or joyous sense so would not work well for "the great emperor's funeral procession travelled unimpeded across the continent" but would work well for a powerful individual who was enjoying or excelling in their task: "the wealthy businessman romped across the continent, treating with governments in every capital and signing deals in every commercial centre of note".

It's often used in racing where a leader is not involved in any trouble or tussle: "he romped home for the easiest victory of his career", which is similar to the "unimpeded" sense you want.

TheFreeDictionary gives two relevant meanings:

To run or advance in a rapid or easy manner.

Slang To win a race or game easily.


You could say he cut through the continent.

To pass through or across; cross: a sailboat cutting the water.


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