hap·​pen·​ing | \ ˈhap-niŋ How to pronounce happening (audio) , ˈha-pə- \

Definition of happening

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that happens : occurrence
2 : an event or series of events designed to evoke a spontaneous reaction to sensory, emotional, or spiritual stimuli
3 : something (such as an event) that is particularly interesting, entertaining, or important



Definition of happening (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : very fashionable : in a happening hairstyle
2 : offering much stimulating activity a happening dance club

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Synonyms & Antonyms for happening

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of happening in a Sentence

Noun the President's visit to the school was a real happening for teachers and students alike gave a detailed account of all the happenings of the weekend Adjective This is quite a happening town on the weekends. those are some happening duds, man
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just the percentages of that happening are not good. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Dolphins game had some great moments for the Bengals, but it was still a loss," 23 Dec. 2019 When one half of the team misplaces the memory of some little happening, the other will be there to remind. Nicola Prentis, Good Housekeeping, "To My Single Mom: You Had It Way Harder Than I Realized Growing Up," 26 Mar. 2019 The actual happening, making the music, and seeing this response and seeing the players getting so much pleasure and satisfaction out of it — that makes it all right. BostonGlobe.com, "In a letter dated two days before they sat in their favorite place in their Brooksville, Maine, home and gazed a final time at Horseshoe Cove, Susan and Carl Chase began with a single word: “Why?”," 25 Nov. 2019 This issue of the magazine features fabulous homes for sale in the metro Denver and Boulder communities, company happenings, interviews with influential locals and a story on the state of the real estate market. Amanda Molitor, The Denver Post, "LIV Sotheby’s International Realty’s magazine article debunks Denver market misconceptions," 11 Oct. 2019 Hard-liners and traditional Shiite clerics, citing their interpretation of Islamic law, believe in segregating men and women at public happenings, as well as keeping women out of men's sporting events. Fox News, "Iranian women attend soccer game for first time in nearly 40 years.," 11 Oct. 2019 Basically the same concept as before, only more interesting, and with a few different opportunities for locals who want to join the happenings, set for Sept. 25-28. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "Denver’s Biennial of the Americas is back, and there’s a lot to do and see this year," 22 Sep. 2019 But what are the chances of it actually a happening? Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "Brexit Dragged the Queen Into Politics—And Isn’t Letting Go," 1 Sep. 2019 The pair are keeping mostly mum on when and where the big day's happening (other than sometime next year, which, give me more details!!). Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez's Wedding: Everything We Know," 21 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective What was once a sleepy college town next to a railroad stop is now one of the most happening cities in the state of Texas. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "See the evolution of College Station and Texas A&M in vintage photos," 5 Apr. 2018 Waco was already a happening place before the Gaines began remodeling homes. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "The Texas city on TripAdvisor’s ‘Destinations on the Rise’ list probably isn’t what you think," 16 Feb. 2018 In any case, these days, the most happening stuff is often happening between the floats. NOLA.com, "37 nutty Mardi Gras dance and marching groups ... and counting," 1 Feb. 2018 Don’t forget to stop by the Mallmart parking lot after a Friday night football game for the most happening tailgate parties. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "Every Brand “Riverdale” Mentions," 23 Jan. 2018 Again in 1921, that very happening year, the poet Manuel Maples Arce plastered Mexico City with broadsheets announcing the birth of a cultural movement. Holland Cotter, New York Times, "“Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950”," 27 Oct. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'happening.' 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 happening


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1965, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for happening

Time Traveler

The first known use of happening was in the 15th century

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Statistics for happening

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Happening.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happening. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for happening


How to pronounce happening (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of happening

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an event or occurrence



English Language Learners Definition of happening (Entry 2 of 2)

informal : fashionable or popular


hap·​pen·​ing | \ ˈha-pə-niŋ, ˈhap-niŋ \

Kids Definition of happening

: something that occurs It was a week of strange happenings.

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Comments on happening

What made you want to look up happening? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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