tran·​scend | \tran(t)-ˈsend \
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

Montgomery says Pisces types want to transcend the mundane world, so anything mystical or fantastical will appeal to her sense of otherworldliness. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Home Gift Ideas for Every Star Sign," 27 Nov. 2018 Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "People Have a Lot of Thoughts About How The Conners Killed Off Roseanne," 17 Oct. 2018 But as constitutional tradition teaches us, our government remains one of laws and not of men, transcending who may be in charge of enforcing the laws at any given time. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Eric Schneiderman Is Gone, But the New York’s Legal #Resistance to Trump Will Go On," 8 May 2018 This could be evidence that the power couple might have actually transcended debate — a true Halloween miracle. Aja Romano, Vox, "Beyoncé and Jay–Z paid tribute to black athletes — and black power — for Halloween," 1 Nov. 2018 Can the new mega-complex transcend its hype to become an actual neighborhood? Curbed, "Can money create a neighborhood?," 19 Sep. 2018 McCain had chosen the speakers at his funeral to emphasize a clear theme: Certain values—and friendships—must transcend partisan differences, and divisive political rancor was, by his estimation, un-American. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "A Brief History of George W. Bush and Michelle Obama's Friendship," 4 Sep. 2018 Merker actually spent the most time on Astrid's makeup, but only because the character transcends the rest in terms of glamour (think of an Asian Audrey Hepburn). Deanna Pai, Glamour, "How Makeup Can Make You Look Rich, According to the Crazy Rich Asians Makeup Artist," 22 Aug. 2018 Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature came together on this issue because truth and fairness transcend partisanship. John Grisham, WSJ, "Consequences for Unethical Prosecutors," 12 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for transcend

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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

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


tran·​scend | \tran-ˈsend \
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

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


a nest or breeding place

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