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 There was this great feeling of common concern, a coming together with a very scary, unknown happening. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 5 Sep. 2021 For the why, what, when and how of Big 12 expansion, a quick primer: Why is this happening? Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2021 For the early evening, there’s always something cultural and great happening at Freedom Park, which now has a skate park. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Sep. 2021 And then the parents bring it back, and nobody sees any of this happening? Fox News Staff, Fox News, 20 Sep. 2021 Wait, describe the exact circumstances of this happening. Mara Reinstein, Vulture, 3 Sep. 2021 Proactive leaders need better ways to triage alerts through an ability to prioritize the events that have the highest likelihood of happening and that have the most devastating consequences on the organization. Robert Potter, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 Though the chances of this happening by mistake seemed low, the news spurred researchers in Minnesota and around the world to action. Joe Carlson, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 Untapped positional versatility may be the key to that happening. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, 7 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While the overarching trend for fall is still lowest maintenance possible, there's a bit more happening than your typical sunny blondes and balayage brunettes. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, 2 Sep. 2020 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, 5 Apr. 2018 Waco was already a happening place before the Gaines began remodeling homes. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, 16 Feb. 2018 In any case, these days, the most happening stuff is often happening between the floats. NOLA.com, 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, 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, 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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near happening



happen into

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Statistics for happening

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Happening.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happening. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on happening

Nglish: Translation of happening for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of happening for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about happening


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