Definition of happen
happeningplay \ˈhap-niŋ, ˈha-pə-\
1 : to occur by chance —often used with it it so happens I'm going your way
2 : to come into being or occur as an event, process, or result mistakes will happen
3 : to do, encounter, or attain something by or as if by chance I happen to know the answer
4a : to meet or discover something by chance happened upon a system that worked — Richard Corbinb : to come or go casually : make a chance appearance he might happen by at any time
5 : to come especially by way of injury or harm I promise nothing will happen to you
Examples of happen in a Sentence
Something like that was bound to happen sooner or later.
You never know what's going to happen when they get together.
What happened at school today?
“What's happening?” “They're installing new equipment.”
Recent Examples of happen from the Web
A vote in the committee, which amounts to a non-binding recommendation to the lower house as a whole, may not happen before July 17.
People who come will get a sense that there is still a lot of major renovation work happening, but the area the event is taking place in is absolutely ready to host events.
What happens, though, if there are underlying issues causing the fracture?
Dillin and his colleagues next asked what happened if the animals’ sense of smell was sharper.
The shooting happened early Sunday at the intersection of 28th Street and Seventh Avenue South in a popular, and frequently-crowded, nightspot with bars, restaurants and street vendors.
Doctors did not understand what was happening or whether the cancer was contagious.
During the past 20 years advances in neuroscience have shown that this sometimes happens.
Harrison said that won't necessarily happen, pointing the Travelers Cos.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'happen'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of happen
Middle English, from hap
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
HAPPEN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of happen for English Language Learners
: to take place especially without being planned
: to do or be something by chance
—used with it to describe something that occurs by chance
HAPPEN Defined for Kids
Definition of happen for Students
1 : to take place Stop crying and tell me what happened.
2 : to occur or come about by chance It just so happens I know them.
3 : to do or be by chance I happened to overhear this.
4 : to come especially by way of injury or harm Nothing will happen to you.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up happen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).