verb hap·pen \ˈha-pən, -pəm\

: to take place especially without being planned

: to do or be something by chance

—used with it to describe something that occurs by chance

hap·penedhap·pen·ing \ˈhap-niŋ, ˈha-pə-\

Full Definition of HAPPEN

intransitive verb
:  to occur by chance —often used with it <it so happens I'm going your way>
:  to come into being or occur as an event, process, or result <mistakes will happen>
:  to do, encounter, or attain something by or as if by chance <I happen to know the answer>
a :  to meet or discover something by chance <happened upon a system that worked — Richard Corbin>
b :  to come or go casually :  make a chance appearance <he might happen by at any time>
:  to come especially by way of injury or harm <I promise nothing will happen to you>

Examples of HAPPEN

  1. Something like that was bound to happen sooner or later.
  2. You never know what's going to happen when they get together.
  3. What happened at school today?
  4. What's happening? They're installing new equipment.

Origin of HAPPEN

Middle English, from hap
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with HAPPEN


Next Word in the Dictionary: happenchancePrevious Word in the Dictionary: hap'orthAll Words Near: happen
May 22, 2015
nepotism Hear it
favoritism based on kinship
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears