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

Essential Meaning of transcend

formal : to rise above or go beyond the normal limits of (something) music that transcends cultural boundaries She was able to transcend her own suffering and help others. Her concerns transcended local issues.

Full 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Gary McIntosh, founding pastor of the church, told the Tulsa World that Todd achieved his vision of what Transformation could be — a place of worship that could transcend barriers and resonate with anyone. Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2022 Anna can neither accept nor transcend mortality; or perhaps her acceptance of it might allow for transcendence. Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine , 4 Jan. 2022 There is also a level of pride when witnessing a Black person transcend to billionaire status. Essence, 30 Dec. 2021 It’s that time of year when thought leaders from every corner of the tech industry reveal their predictions on which emerging innovations will transcend the new calendar year. Katie Jansen, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 Nodal called Rolling Stone to offer his thoughts on why Vicente Fernández will continue to transcend and be an icon for so many. Isabela Raygoza, Rolling Stone, 16 Dec. 2021 But the commission had struggled since its inception to transcend partisanship. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, 3 Jan. 2022 Combat boots are one of those footwear styles that will continue to transcend time. Alex Warner,, 17 Dec. 2021 Its achingly romantic cumbias were born in Mexico City’s barrios but have come to transcend class and geography, booming at both block parties and extravagant weddings from California to Argentina. Los Angeles Times, 6 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for transcend

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Transcend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 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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