She gave me a delicate look from across the room, and - without hesitation - ______ed through the labyrinth of guests towards me."

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    What comes to mind...flowed? – Bookeater May 29 '16 at 17:30
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    "Cruise" fits the bill. – vickyace May 29 '16 at 17:54
  • Skillfully threaded – Jim May 30 '16 at 2:41
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    ___ gazelled ___ :-) – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket May 31 '16 at 7:10
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    It reminds me of "slithered". – Bhaskar May 31 '16 at 9:34

17 Answers 17


I would hesitate between

All have the difficulty that as they apply to a way of moving, they are difficult to reconcile with "without hesitation, started . . ."

I would probably use ". . . without hesitation set out towards me, gliding/sweeping/navigating effortlessly through the labyrinth of guests"

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  • 3
    Please elaborate by adding references, links and stuff, you know. – NVZ May 29 '16 at 17:49
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    +1 because I like all these suggestions, but glide is a regular verb, it should be glided – Mari-Lou A May 29 '16 at 19:10
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    @Mari-LouA don't know what took me, probably a dastardly backstabbing attack stemming from my native tongue (Swedish: att glida, gled) – Law29 May 29 '16 at 21:09
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    As NVZ said, these are good, but answers on ELU require citations. – T.J. Crowder May 30 '16 at 8:14
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    @Mari-LouA (Not a quibble, just commenting because I looked this up and found it interesting.) As you say, the simple past of glide is pretty much always glided today, but glid existed in the past — OED and Merriam–Webster report that it persisted into the 20th century, and Google Ngrams finds genuine examples up till the mid 19th century: goo.gl/nSmBXR. The analogous slide*/*slid remains strong today. – PLL May 30 '16 at 10:04

Deftly” [moved through the room...]


  1. dexterous; nimble; skillful; clever: deft hands; a deft mechanic.
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  • In reference to my answer, deftly would be an excellent replacement for my "effortlessly": ". . . without hesitation set out towards me, deftly navigating through the labyrinth of guests" – Law29 May 30 '16 at 8:01


to move, flow, pass, or go smoothly or easily; glide; slide. (dictionary.com)

It's a good option for an otherwise complex path through a crowded room.

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How about Sashay?

to move, walk, or glide along casually

C19: from an alteration of chassé, a gliding dance step

Though it possibly suggests a bit too much va-va-voom for elegance.

I would probably use 'slip' in this instance, While it is difficult to find a dictionary definition which quite sums up the usage, Slip through the crowd is a common and well understood phrase.

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I would go for something a little more metaphorical and use wafted:

She gave me a delicate look from across the room, and — without hesitation — wafted through the labyrinth of guests towards me.


(With reference to a scent, sound, etc.) pass or cause to pass gently through the air:
the smell of stale fat wafted out from the cafe

Move with a gliding motion:
models wafted down the catwalk in filmy organza skirts


It's possible to see how the first meaning was applied to the movement of people apparently through the air.

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  • 16
    I'm sorry, but with respect this is an awful choice for the example given. It sounds as if the woman is trailing an epic fart across the dance floor. – Jonah May 29 '16 at 22:47
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    @Jonah I suggest you change the parties you go to! – Andrew Leach May 30 '16 at 7:22
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    I like wafted for the graceful walk, but it definitely implies neither speed nor purpose, both which seem requested by OP. – Law29 May 30 '16 at 9:10
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    @AndrewLeach, I hate to keep dog piling on you, but since you self-identify as a Brit with a keen interest in "the differences between 'British' English and American English," it's my duty as an American to inform you that you just passed up your life's most perfect opportunity to drop the line Whoever smelt it dealt it. – Jonah May 30 '16 at 9:55
  • @Jonah My great grandparents version of that (in broad Lancastrian) was 'first spaker, stink maker'. – Spagirl May 31 '16 at 12:59

What about flit, defined by Merriam Webster as

to move or fly quickly from one place or thing to another

dictionary.com also defines it as

to move lightly and swiftly; fly, dart, or skim along

It has a sense of abruptness and ease

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How about "flowed"?

"She gave me a delicate look from across the room, and - without hesitation - flowed through the labyrinth of guests towards me."

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  • This just sounds awkward to my ears. =/ – jpmc26 Jun 1 '16 at 8:50

you could try a form of swift or prance or deft, lilt, pounce, alight. "Alighted through the labyrinth, or "moved deftly through the labyrinth". Or a combination of words might work; "moved through the labyrinth with alacrity and grace". In this case alacrity conveys dexterity and confidence and ease, so it helps give an image of moving fast and effortlessly as if practiced and perfected.

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Glided might be an option. Coasted is another word that comes to mind

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    coasted would to me imply without power, relying only on an initial spurt of energy. Good word but probably not what OP wants. – Law29 May 30 '16 at 8:04

While explicitly lacking the 'speedily' aspect, the other parts - as well as the meaning of the sentence in whole - could be covered by a word like:

graceful adjective (MOVEMENT)

moving in a smooth, relaxed, attractive way, or having a smooth, attractive shape:

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Consider using "slid" or "weaved"; either suits the given context.

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  • slid would imply a sidewards movement, slipping through the guests. weaved would imply a weaving movement, similar to my navigating. Both could be good for OP. – Law29 May 30 '16 at 8:06

Nimble is a good fit to describe the movement.

quick and light in movement; moving with ease; agile; active; rapid.

It could be combined with 'manoeuvred' perhaps?

"She gave me a delicate look from across the room, and - without hesitation - nimbly manoeuvred through the labyrinth of guests towards me."

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Given the context you provided, I'd like to offer "gravitated".

She gave me a delicate look from across the room, and - without hesitation - gravitated through the labyrinth of guests towards me."


  1. Move towards or be attracted to a person or thing:
    young western Europeans will gravitate to Berlin

  2. Physics Move, or tend to move, towards a centre of gravity or other attractive force:
    the electron does not gravitate towards the nucleus
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You could say that she slunk through the labyrinth:

verb: slink; slinks; past tense: slunk; past participle: slunk; gerund or present participle: slinking

move smoothly and quietly with gliding steps, in a stealthy or sensuous manner.

"the fox came slinking through the woods"

come or go unobtrusively or furtively.

"all his so-called friends have slunk off"

synonyms: creep, sneak, steal, slip, slide, sidle, tiptoe, pussyfoot "it's impossible to slink quietly across these squeaky floors"

noun: slink

a slinking movement or walk.

"she moved with a sensuous slink"

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  • 1
    This is what I was thinking, too. Particularly the sensuous or provocative connotation. – vynsane May 31 '16 at 16:36

Try cruise, defined by Merriam Webster as

To move or proceed speedily, smoothly, or effortlessly

Also see Glide, defined by Merriam Webster as

To move smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly.

There are also synonyms like sail or breeze.

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I think Law29's answers have your covered (Personally I prefer Larry's answer as a solution to the problem, but it's not what you asked for).

How about looking for a metaphor to get the point across. For example: pirouetted.


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You might also consider loped, to give a woodsy feel.


to run in a relaxed way with long strides

"The horses loped easily across the fields."
"He went loping up the hill."
"The outfielder loped after the ball."

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  • Loping is not elegant. – GreenAsJade Jun 1 '16 at 8:29
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