\ˈtran(t)s \

Definition of trance 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : stupor, daze

2 : a sleeplike state (as of deep hypnosis) usually characterized by partly suspended animation with diminished or absent sensory and motor activity

3 : a state of profound abstraction or absorption


tranced; trancing

Definition of trance (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from trance


trancelike \ˈtran(t)s-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for trance

Synonyms: Noun

daydreaming, reverie (also revery), study, woolgathering

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Examples of trance in a Sentence


The spiritual healer fell into a trance. He was staring out the window in a trance.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Not only do the beat and rhythm of the words leave the reader in a sort of trance-like state, but the message behind the rhyming teaches readers significant life lessons. Alicia Harper, Redbook, "4 Children's Books That Rock," 10 Feb. 2012 And throughout the show up to this point, Offred’s Ceremonies with the Waterfords have been filmed as, indeed, ceremonial, a mechanical act throughout which everyone’s faces are eerily blank, as though in a trance or simply numb. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Episode 9 Brings Resistance In Many Forms," 9 June 2017 Tabla drummers gave rhythm to the heady, trance-inducing music. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018 Here Child’s music reaches its greatest expressive breadth, from quiet trance to blazing outbursts that distantly recall Messiaen’s ecstatic visions. David Weininger,, "From Philip Glass to folk-inspired violin, sounds for the summer," 4 July 2018 But for her own productions, Ms. Borges mixes these childhood influences with polyrhythms, frantic beats, air horns and elements of genres like trance, European techno, Afro-house and American R&B. Her drums thwack like a bucking bronco. Kate Hutchinson, New York Times, "Nídia Is Bringing the Sound of Lisbon’s Ghettos to the World," 14 June 2018 Alongside Can, Kraftwerk, and Neu!, Faust created a chemistry lab of music, sometimes jarring, often trance-inducing, either passively disregarding or actively sabotaging all existing convention. James Sullivan,, "For krautrock icons Faust, the revolution goes on," 11 July 2018 Bombino — is the leading exponent of the blues and rock simpatico trance music sound of the Tuareg people of Northern Africa., "University City Dining Days, Hispanic Fiesta at Penn's Landing, Movie night at Penn Treaty Park, and other great events in Philadelphia, July 6-13," 5 July 2018 Finally, yet another recent study hinted that one way to break the gaming trance is to put screen junkies on horseback. Benedict Carey, New York Times, "Endless Gaming May Be a Bad Habit. That Doesn’t Make It a Mental Illness.," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As Florence trances the edge of this high pressure system, by later Friday or so, the atmospheric steering currents essentially break down. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Hurricane Florence forecast has gone from bad to worse," 12 Sep. 2018 But as people danced, shouted along, tranced out or (sometimes) shielded their ears, all the gear was still at the service of human beings. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "At Moogfest, Untamed Sounds and Futuristic Protests," 22 May 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for trance


Middle English traunce, from Anglo-French transe death, coma, rapture, from transir to depart, die, from Latin transire to cross, pass by — more at transient

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Dictionary Entries near trance







tranche de vie

Statistics for trance

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trance

The first known use of trance was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for trance



English Language Learners Definition of trance

: a state that is like being asleep except that you can move and respond to questions and commands like a person who is awake

: a state in which you are not aware of what is happening around you because you are thinking of something else


\ˈtrans \

Kids Definition of trance

1 : a condition like sleep (as deep hypnosis)

2 : a state of being so deeply absorbed in thought about something as to be unaware of anything else

3 : stupor What with the brandy and the venison … I fell into a kind of trance— Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped


\ˈtran(t)s \

Medical Definition of trance 

1 : a sleeplike altered state of consciousness (as of deep hypnosis) usually characterized by partly suspended animation with diminished or absent sensory and motor activity and subsequent lack of recall

2 : a state of profound abstraction or absorption

Other Words from trance

trancelike \-​ˌlīk \ or trance-like adjective
a trancelike state

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More from Merriam-Webster on trance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trance

Spanish Central: Translation of trance

Nglish: Translation of trance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about trance

Comments on trance

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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