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

The Norwegian death-punk band Turbonegro has a fandom that demonstrates both how bands provide grounds for participatory communal experiences that transcend them and how inseparable those communal experiences are from commercial markets. Nancy Baym, WIRED, "Book Excerpt: How Music Fans Built the Internet," 10 July 2018 But for the new album Deran, Moctar went home to Morocco and recorded in Casablanca, singing entirely in his native language of Tamashek, making music that transcends borders., "University City Dining Days, Hispanic Fiesta at Penn's Landing, Movie night at Penn Treaty Park, and other great events in Philadelphia, July 6-13," 5 July 2018 That’s unfortunate, especially with an album that far transcends any one narrow focus. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Peerless pop wonder Janelle Monae is more human than human on Dirty Computer," 29 June 2018 Running a deli out of your pants might help, but BDE is a feeling that transcends the physical realm. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "A Guide to Big Dick Energy Style," 27 June 2018 There’s a certain level of camaraderie that transcends this BFF thing. Katherine Turman, Billboard, "James Williamson on His New Trio Pink Hearts & the Stooges' Legacy," 21 June 2018 The renowned soprano, a Grammy, Tony and Emmy winner with a voice that truly transcends, joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for an evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein and more. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Pride, Snow Tha Product and Robert Plant — the best of this week's arts and entertainment scene in Baltimore," 10 June 2018 The teams involved in e-sports are working hard to sow the seeds for a loyalty that transcends the individual game, and this sheen of hype is instrumental to that effort. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Going to an e-sport event is like traveling back to the time when people followed sports for the sport," 30 May 2018 His perfect ear for speech conveyed an interest in all kinds of people that transcended his cruel streak. Emily Gould, The Cut, "The Shocking Thing About Teaching Roth to College Kids," 24 May 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

8 Nov 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 private place of worship

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