A transverse wave is a wave, such as one traversing a rope, in which the oscillation is perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation. The wave propagates to the right, but the elements of the rope do not travel with the wave.

Each segment of the wave approximates simple harmonic motion in the direction.

The wave function is the coordinate of a point located at position at time ; is the phase constant, is the wavelength, is the amplitude, and is the frequency. The vectors (red arrow) and (black arrow) stand for the velocity and acceleration of the particle at the position in simple harmonic motion, with magnitudes and .