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hap·​pen·​ing ˈhap-niŋ How to pronounce happening (audio)
: something that happens : occurrence
: an event or series of events designed to evoke a spontaneous reaction to sensory, emotional, or spiritual stimuli
: something (such as an event) that is particularly interesting, entertaining, or important


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

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Jason Bellmer of Fond du Lac took video of the bizarre happening as high winds propelled the shanty across slick ice on the east shore of Lake Winnebago. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 2 Mar. 2023 Eve broadcast that degenerated into a drunken happening. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Jan. 2023 Despite all of this happening, the Cowboys were fortunate to trail, 9-6, at the break. Dallas News, 22 Jan. 2023 But whether there’s a significant risk of this happening isn’t clear. WIRED, 9 Jan. 2023 There’s an enormous amount of incredible stand-up happening, and comedians are selling out a lot of tickets in enormous places and challenging themselves. Jason Diamond, Vulture, 20 May 2022 The mad scientist has evolved into the mad disruptor, but why is this happening, and why now? WIRED, 26 Jan. 2023 It’s also come into discussion due to a celestial happening, the Christmas Star, set to occur tonight. Stephanie Toone, ajc, 21 Dec. 2020 With the new Moon of the 21st happening at the top of your solar chart, more demands will be coming your way and a tricky aspect on the 22nd may intensify a feeling of being burdened. Katharine Merlin, Town & Country, 16 Jan. 2023
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 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1965, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near happening

Cite this Entry

“Happening.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happening. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: something that happens : occurrence
: an event that is especially interesting, entertaining, or important

More from Merriam-Webster on happening

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  • high school student holding a pencil leaning over a sat test
  • Despite the cacophony, the student tried to study.
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