Is the expression "traipse up the steps" just synonym of walking up the steps? Is there any other connotation to the verb traipse?

  • 6
    Can you tell us what questions you have about this after looking in a dictionary or thesaurus? To traipse somewhere can be to walk reluctantly, with perhaps unnecessary effort, or in a tired way.
    – aedia λ
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 19:32
  • What @aedia said. Any dictionary should make it obvious that there's a difference between walking and traising - just as there is between, for example, saying and whispering or shouting. Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


'Traipsing' usually connotes travel without a clear plan although there may be a higher-level purpose in play.

I traipsed all over town today looking for a gift for my brother.

I had a purpose (finding a gift) but I had no plan for my travel and wound up going from one store to another in seemingly random fashion.

In your example, I would expect kids to 'traipse' up and down stairs more so than adults.

  • I don't think it's the lack of a clear plan (compare ambling or wandering all over town) as much as it is a tone of complaint. Either in the person saying they did it, or in the manner of walking (more likely to be seen from children) that anyone looking at them can tell they wish they were not doing this. That said, I don't think you traipse to the gallows. Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 19:59
  • 1
    I don't believe that a tone of complaint is implicit in the word. Next summer I plan to spend my vacation traipsing through Europe
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 20:18
  • I sort of agree. But I think traipse can apply whenever the plan is not yours - when there's no plan at all or when you're forced to follow someone else (especially your parents or boss) - not just their plan, but actually them - while amble or wander don't apply to being controlled, only to having no plan. Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 20:57

The OED says of traipse | trapes:


  • 1a. intr. To walk in a trailing or untidy way; e.g. to walk or ‘trail’ through the mud; to walk with the dress trailing or bedraggled; to walk about aimlessly or needlessly. (Usually said of a woman or child.) Also in gen. use, to tramp or trudge, to go about.

  • b. To trail along the ground; to hang untidily.

  • 2a. trans. To walk or tramp over; to tread, tramp (the fields, streets, etc.). dial.

  • b. To tread (a dance) in a trailing way. rare.

  • c. Causatively: to carry or take about in a trailing way.

Derivatives: traipsed adj. trampled, bedraggled.

Why is it that we get so many questions where we’re expected to look something up in the dictionary because the OP couldn’t be troubled to do themself? Sigh.

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