tran·​scen·​dent | \ tran(t)-ˈsen-dənt How to pronounce transcendent (audio) \

Definition of transcendent

1a : exceeding usual limits : surpassing
b : extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience
c in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge
2 : being beyond comprehension
3 : transcending the universe or material existence — compare immanent sense 2
4 : universally applicable or significant the antislavery movement … recognized the transcendent importance of liberty— L. H. Tribe

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Other Words from transcendent

transcendently adverb

Did You Know?

The Latin verb scandere means "to climb", so transcend has the basic meaning of climbing so high that you cross some boundary. A transcendent experience is one that takes you out of yourself and convinces you of a larger life or existence; in this sense, it means something close to "spiritual". The American writers and thinkers known as the Transcendentalists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, believed in the unity of all creation, the basic goodness of humankind, and the superiority of spiritual vision over mere logic. When we speak of the transcendent importance of an issue such as climate change, we may mean that everything else on earth actually depends on it.

Examples of transcendent in a Sentence

a firm belief in angels, demons, and other transcendent beings the star player's transcendent performance helped the team to a surprise victory

Recent Examples on the Web

Michael, 35, says there's something transcendent — if a little unnerving — about the whole experience. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana noodling: Inside the Hoosier tradition of catching snapping turtles by hand," 14 July 2019 For some reason, there just isn’t a transcendent talent in the bunch., "Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal still dominate, evidence this isn’t tennis’ greatest era: 2019 Wimbledon," 8 July 2019 Jones’ transcendent voice has garnered the artist both a throng of fans and nine Grammy awards. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, "New summer tunes: Here’s your guide to new Alaska music and fun shows," 4 July 2019 For all its team aspects, NBA hoops is about transcendent individual brilliance. Scott Ostler,, "Kevin Durant moves on: The Warriors, NBA are better for it," 1 July 2019 From a resort designed like a Balinese village to a line of Cubist villas in the Utah desert, Aman has made breathtaking architecture central to its mission and paved the way for hotels and resorts that put a premium on transcendent design. Gisela Williams And Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "The 2019 ELLE Decor Travel A-List," 26 June 2019 There was more transcendent art later that evening at the Auditorio Nacional de Música, where the Vienna Symphony Orchestra performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Op. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Takes in the Best of Madrid, Past and Present," 24 June 2019 Having covered Tom Brady in Super Bowls and Derek Jeter in World Series, the broadcaster has developed a system for discussing transcendent stars, keeping a running page of notes on their career milestones. Jacob Feldman,, "This Could Be the U.S. Open FOX Has Been Waiting For," 13 June 2019 That legacy, also indisputably comprises some of the greatest and most transcendent music ever made. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Latin Legacy: Digital Digging in the Gladys Palmera Collection," 22 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for transcendent

Middle English, from Latin transcendent-, transcendens, present participle of transcendere

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Statistics for transcendent

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for transcendent

The first known use of transcendent was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of transcendent

: going beyond the limits of ordinary experience
: far better or greater than what is usual

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Comments on transcendent

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something desired as essential

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