verb tran·scend \ tran(t)-ˈsend \
|Updated on: 16 Aug 2018

Definition of transcend

transcended; transcending; transcends
1 a : 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
: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits

Examples of transcend in a Sentence

  1. music that transcends cultural boundaries

  2. She was able to transcend her own suffering and help others.

  3. Her concerns transcended local issues.

Recent Examples of transcend from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of transcend

Middle English, from Latin transcendere to climb across, transcend, from trans- + scandere to climb — more at scan

Synonym Discussion of 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

TRANSCEND Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of transcend for English Language Learners

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

TRANSCEND Defined for Kids


verb tran·scend \ tran-ˈsend \

Definition of transcend for Students

transcended; transcending
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.

Word Root of transcend

The Latin word scandere, meaning “to climb,” gives us the root scend. Words from the Latin scandere have something to do with climbing. To ascend is to climb upward. To descend is to climb downward. To transcend is to rise above or climb over something's limits.

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