Language Tips

walk with difficulty

Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to describe movement. This week’s tip looks at verbs and phrases that mean walk slowly and with difficulty:

shuffle to walk slowly without lifting your feet off the ground, especially because you are ill or old:

  • She just shuffles around the house, never bothering to go out.

stagger to walk with uneven steps, for example because you are ill, injured or drunk:

  • She managed to stagger to the phone before collapsing on the floor.
  • The street was full of drunks, staggering all over the place.

trudge to walk slowly and with effort, usually because you are tired and have been walking for a long time:

  • We trudged up the slope and collapsed at the top.

plod to walk with slow heavy steps:

  • We plodded on through the mud to reach the cottage.

tramp to walk slowly for a long distance:

  • Men and women tramped the streets looking for work.

trek to walk somewhere slowly and with no enthusiasm:

  • I have no desire to trek up that hill again – let’s get the bus.

limp to walk with difficulty because of an injured leg or foot:

  • Cayne limped off the pitch with an ankle injury.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘walk‘.

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About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter


  • I was surprised to read that “trek” is “to walk somewhere slowly and with no enthusiasm”. What about “trekking” as what you do in the mountains with your backpack? I do that with great enthusiasm. It might be slowly, but that would be in order to enjoy the view 🙂

  • Thanks Conny. I should have mentioned that there is another meaning of trek, which is the one you refer to and is the second meaning in our entry. It will be covered in a later post.

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