tran·​scend | \ tran(t)-ˈsend How to pronounce transcend (audio) \
transcended; transcending; transcends

Essential Meaning of transcend

formal : to rise above or go beyond the normal limits of (something) music that transcends cultural boundaries She was able to transcend her own suffering and help others. Her concerns transcended local issues.

Full Definition of transcend

transitive verb

1a : to rise above or go beyond the limits of
b : to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of : overcome
c : to be prior to, beyond, and above (the universe or material existence)
2 : to outstrip or outdo in some attribute, quality, or power

intransitive verb

: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits

Choose the Right Synonym for transcend

exceed, surpass, transcend, excel, outdo, outstrip mean to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree. exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement. exceed the speed limit surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill. the book surpassed our expectations transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits. transcended the values of their culture excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others. excels in mathematics outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before. outdid herself this time outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition. outstripped other firms in sales

When Should You Use transcend?

Great leaders are expected to transcend the limitations of politics, especially during wartime and national crises. A great writer may transcend geographical boundaries to become internationally respected. And certain laws of human nature seem to transcend historical periods and hold true for all times and all places.

Examples of transcend in a Sentence

music that transcends cultural boundaries She was able to transcend her own suffering and help others. Her concerns transcended local issues.
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Recent Examples on the Web Simply put, the word describes (paywall) a world in which our day-to-day lives transcend a single reality and includes virtual reality as well. Gary Fowler, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 The songs largely transcend their theatrical origins — it’s definitely not a musical spin through the DSM-5 manual — though a little context doesn’t hurt. Chris Willman, Variety, 8 Nov. 2021 Despite a lack of government support for the arts and the colossal difficulty of shattering rock stereotypes to break big, Pinoy artists transcend rock in a way that is beautifully Filipino. Charisma Madarang, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2021 This fall, however, fishnets could transcend their tawdry reputation as cheap All Hallows’ Eve novelties. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 28 Oct. 2021 That question is sparked by KINO’s Blu-Ray release of Francesco Rosi’s Illustrious Corpses, from 1976, one of the countless Italian art films made from a political perspective but that transcend politics. Armond White, National Review, 27 Oct. 2021 The many problems Facebook faces now transcend any one issue. Adario Strange, Quartz, 26 Oct. 2021 Such pronouncements hardly ever transcend suspicion of being mere exercises in image management. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 24 Sep. 2021 In American art, few subjects transcend the boundaries of era, culture, and history like the perpetual indifference of the sea., 23 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'transcend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of transcend

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for transcend

Middle English, from Latin transcendere to climb across, transcend, from trans- + scandere to climb — more at scan

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Time Traveler for transcend

Time Traveler

The first known use of transcend was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Transcend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for transcend


tran·​scend | \ tran-ˈsend How to pronounce transcend (audio) \
transcended; transcending

Kids Definition of transcend

1 : to rise above the limits of The music transcends cultural boundaries.
2 : to do better or more than The poem transcended all others in its beauty.

More from Merriam-Webster on transcend

Nglish: Translation of transcend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of transcend for Arabic Speakers


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