tran·​scend | \ tran(t)-ˈsend How to pronounce transcend (audio) \
transcended; transcending; transcends

Definition of transcend

transitive verb

1a : to rise above or go beyond the limits of
b : to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of : overcome
c : to be prior to, beyond, and above (the universe or material existence)
2 : to outstrip or outdo in some attribute, quality, or power

intransitive verb

: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits

Choose the Right Synonym for transcend

exceed, surpass, transcend, excel, outdo, outstrip mean to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree. exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement. exceed the speed limit surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill. the book surpassed our expectations transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits. transcended the values of their culture excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others. excels in mathematics outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before. outdid herself this time outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition. outstripped other firms in sales

When Should You Use transcend?

Great leaders are expected to transcend the limitations of politics, especially during wartime and national crises. A great writer may transcend geographical boundaries to become internationally respected. And certain laws of human nature seem to transcend historical periods and hold true for all times and all places.

Examples of transcend in a Sentence

music that transcends cultural boundaries She was able to transcend her own suffering and help others. Her concerns transcended local issues.
Recent Examples on the Web Washburn taught us that focusing on the pure sharing of adventure and visual technologies, was a way to transcend words and express this delight in new and exciting ways. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2022 If sophisticated brain-computer interfaces eventually transcend medical applications and become consumer goods available to the general public, the ethical considerations surrounding them multiply exponentially. New York Times, 12 May 2022 The best Pinot Noirs transcend that broad brush and drill down on the character the specific soils, aspects and microclimates their sites best express, in either state. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 11 Apr. 2022 It’s not too soon to think about how science education can transcend the current closed systems of virtual labs and move into the growing connected online worlds called the metaverse. Michael Jensen, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2022 Sharing emotions, gratitude and vulnerabilities help remote relationships transcend transactional communications. J. Gerald Suarez, The Arizona Republic, 8 Apr. 2022 Watching Sullivan trade licks with Guy is a welcome reminder that music can transcend race and bring people together. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 16 Mar. 2022 Doucouré said the movie is about a young woman who aspires to transcend her social class and break free. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 12 Apr. 2022 His story continues to transcend sport and inspire us all. oregonlive, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'transcend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of transcend

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for transcend

Middle English, from Latin transcendere to climb across, transcend, from trans- + scandere to climb — more at scan

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Time Traveler for transcend

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

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Transcend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for transcend


tran·​scend | \ tran-ˈsend How to pronounce transcend (audio) \
transcended; transcending

Kids Definition of transcend

1 : to rise above the limits of The music transcends cultural boundaries.
2 : to do better or more than The poem transcended all others in its beauty.

More from Merriam-Webster on transcend

Nglish: Translation of transcend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of transcend for Arabic Speakers


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