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 That’s all stuff that can unfold in the coming days, but there’s not as much of a timeline on that happening. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Have the Chicago Blackhawks already shut the door on next season’s playoffs? The Corey Crawford decision suggests they might have.," 9 Oct. 2020 Unfortunately, the chances of this happening are about as slim as winning the lottery. WSJ, "Bolton Is Kidding Himself on China and North Korea," 7 Oct. 2020 Getting one’s flu shot is one way to lower the risk of this happening. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "What to know about flu season this year: Where, when and why to get your shot," 6 Oct. 2020 As per Alameda County Health ordinances, there is virtually no chance of this happening. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Mailbag: So many playoff questions, such as: What happens to ‘extra’ starters in 1st round?," 23 Sep. 2020 Even the bookies in this gambling city would never have bet on this happening. Tim Dahlberg, Star Tribune, "Raiders ready for big opening act on Las Vegas Strip," 18 Sep. 2020 Gorra wouldn’t mind something similar happening with Rebag, but Clair’s functionality—which allows users to instantly get a resale value of a bag by entering a few details about said item—has already increased submissions by a factor of three. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Bottega Veneta—A Hot Commodity on the Street Style Scene and in the Resale Market," 1 Oct. 2020 Now we are headed for another tumultuous happening: a bitter partisan battle over the Republican effort to rush through a conservative replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Why the Supreme Court Battle Seems Unlikely to Transform the Election," 22 Sep. 2020 Another month, another celestial happening that's ready to shake up our lives. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, "The New Moon Is In Virgo, & Change Is Brewing," 17 Sep. 2020 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, "The Coolest Fall Hair Colors to Try This Season," 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, "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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

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