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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Legal and sports observers say the lasting impact of the squad has the potential to transcend sport in a unique and unparalleled way, and its high-profile battle for equality could prove to be an influential one in a larger cultural war. Rick Maese And Ava Wallace,, "The US women’s soccer team’s battle for equality is transcending sport," 10 July 2019 In short, a back on a bad team typically needs extreme volume or to be a major part of the passing game to transcend his environment., "Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman Lead Fantasy Football's High-Risk, High-Reward Players in 2019," 8 July 2019 But Vanderbilt transcended her famously disjointed childhood and later upheavals to become an actress, artist, author and fashion and merchandising icon., "Today: To Build or Not to Build in Wildfire Zones?," 18 June 2019 Kerr's star power transcends her work on the field. Cory Stieg,, "This Australian Football Player's Goals Are Amazing — & So Are Her Celebrations," 18 June 2019 But the high school name transcended that president, and came to epitomize the area’s iconic restaurants, shops, Schmidt brewery, but mostly the working class neighborhood vibe that exists to this day. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letter: Apparently, history must be changed," 27 June 2019 Mixing pomp, circumstance, and death-defying speeds, the Indy 500 has transcended mere auto racing to become a must-watch event like the Kentucky Derby or the Super Bowl. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "Everything You Need to Know about the Indianapolis 500," 25 May 2019 Since then, the show has recognized coaches whose dedication to the job seemed to transcend wins and losses. Alex Putterman,, "UConn icon, St. Joseph basketball coach Jim Calhoun to be honored at ESPYS as ‘Best Coach’," 17 June 2019 Among those who made it to the summit were people without limbs or with multiple sclerosis who wanted to transcend the limitations of the body. Ipsita Chakravarty, Quartz India, "How colonialism cost the Himalayas their remoteness," 10 June 2019

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.

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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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Learn More about transcend

Statistics for transcend

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for transcend

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

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More Definitions for transcend



English Language Learners Definition of transcend

formal : to rise above or go beyond the normal limits of (something)


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.

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Comments on transcend

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characterized by aphorism

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