hap·pen·ing | \ˈhap-niŋ, 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

adventure, experience, exploit, time

Synonyms: Adjective

à la mode (also a la mode), chic, cool [slang], exclusive, fashionable, hip, in, modish, sharp, smart, snappy, stylish, supercool, swell, trendy, voguish

Antonyms: Adjective

dowdy, out, outmoded, styleless, unfashionable, unstylish

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Examples of happening in a Sentence


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


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

The museum is housed in a 1938 Tudor mansion, reportedly the site of dark and demonic happenings in the 1970s. Kim Windyka, Daily Intelligencer, "The 9 Best Offbeat Museums to Visit in Las Vegas," 16 June 2018 There are a number of circumstances in that last half-mile that could have gone our way but as the race narrows down the chance of that happening is a little bit less. John Powers, BostonGlobe.com, "Yale crew tops Harvard for third straight time," 10 June 2018 Take advantage of the many free or low-cost events, but maximize them with a Rally Pack Most of the 115th anniversary happenings – including many hotly anticipated events – are free and open to the public. Harley Davidson Motor Company, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How to access more at Harley’s 115th party," 12 July 2018 Most of the rage from fans was from the major happenings of issue No. David Betancourt, chicagotribune.com, "Fans were mad that Batman and Catwoman's wedding day surprise was ruined. But the story is still great.," 10 July 2018 The summer-long, complementary series of outdoor happenings features over 100 events, ranging from performances to fitness classes to kid-friendly activities. Zipporah Osei, BostonGlobe.com, "A play for veterans, a car show, and a concert picnic," 25 May 2018 Party City’s decorations provide just one example of this happening. David Meyer, Fortune, "Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr Decorations? Party City Is Discovering American Muslims' Purchasing Power," 16 May 2018 Milan’s furniture fair, a.k.a., Salone del Mobile, which ran from April 17 to 22 this year, was the most energized, bountiful, and populated of design happenings in recent memory. Wendy Goodman, The Cut, "Twelve dazzling moments at the Milan Furniture Fair.," 26 Apr. 2018 This is obviously super cynical, but any of that happening would be a surprise. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Whit not an All-Star (?), Jeff Long and KU, Chiefs fears, Odom's crossroads," 10 July 2018

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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Statistics for happening

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for happening

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

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More Definitions for happening



English Language Learners Definition of happening

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an event or occurrence



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

: 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).


one that holds something together

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