happen

verb
hap·​pen | \ ˈha-pən How to pronounce happen (audio) , -pᵊm\
happened; happening\ ˈhap-​niŋ How to pronounce happening (audio) , ˈha-​pə-​ \

Definition of happen

intransitive verb

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 Corbin
b : 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

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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.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

There also isn't a timeline for how and when grief happens. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "How To Deal With the Death Of a Parent," 14 Mar. 2019 Ramona’s Mario appears in a few promos—what’s happening there? Danny Murphy, Town & Country, "Tinsley Mortimer Talks RHONY Season 11 and Her Favorite New York City Date Spot," 7 Mar. 2019 If that holds true, 2019 could see West Coast home prices drop, which other than a few exceptions like 2008 rarely happens. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Housing market signaled potential future downturn in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 At this point, the general medical consensus is that endometriosis happens when the tissue that lines your uterus (endometrium) begins to grow on other organs. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s When to See a Doctor About Period Clots," 1 Mar. 2019 The problem is that their next game—the one that is widely viewed as Sarri’s last opportunity to save his job—happens to be a League Cup final on Sunday against the last team Sarri wants to see right now: Manchester City, again. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Chelsea May Have to Hit the Reset Button, Again," 22 Feb. 2019 Because Christ's death and resurrection happened after the Jewish Passover, which is celebrated on the first full moon after the equinox, early Christians wanted Easter to always take place following Passover, according to ThoughtCo. Maria Carter, Country Living, "When Is Easter and Why Does Easter Change Dates Each Year?," 7 Feb. 2019 When the housing bust happened, the surplus of housing made price drops worse. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Housing market signaled potential future downturn in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 But Waymo says their records show that this actually happened only once during the four rides. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "We finally talked to an actual Waymo passenger—here’s what he told us," 13 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of happen

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for happen

Middle English, from hap

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Statistics for happen

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for happen

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

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More Definitions for happen

happen

verb

English Language Learners Definition of happen

: 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

verb
hap·​pen | \ ˈha-pən How to pronounce happen (audio) \
happened; happening

Kids Definition of happen

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on happen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with happen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for happen

Spanish Central: Translation of happen

Nglish: Translation of happen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of happen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on happen

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