tran·​scend | \ tran(t)-ˈsend How to pronounce transcend (audio) \
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 Over the past three decades, Shakira has transcended countless boundaries with her music. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Shakira Shares Why She Has No Plans of Marrying Her Longtime Boyfriend Gerard Piqué," 3 Feb. 2020 The CareSource Foundation enables us to transcend standard health care and reach into our local communities to better understand and solve social issues. Jane Vanderhorst,, "Central Clinic Behavioral Health receives grant from the CareSource Foundation," 11 Jan. 2020 Yet, a few schools have been able to uniquely transcend this prejudice. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "The story of Jamia, the “anti-national” university born of deep Indian nationalism," 29 Dec. 2019 Moreover, the new films now also incorporate elements of current politics that feel out of place in a story meant to transcend time. Amit Phull, STAT, "Star Wars and the U.S. health care system share this: bloat," 23 Dec. 2019 Like my-oldest-sister’s-wedding-pictures happy—like a couple radiating the kind of affection that seemed to transcend paper and ink. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Preview two swoony queer romances destined to capture your heart in 2020," 4 Dec. 2019 Alexander's desire to transcend the merely mortal echoes his mother’s belief in her family origins: Olympias grew up believing she was descended from Achilles, the demigod hero of The Iliad. National Geographic, "Alexander the Great's warrior mom wielded unprecedented power," 3 Dec. 2019 The good that the USMCA will do ought to transcend politics. CNN, "Travel execs: Trump's new trade deal will bring more tourism to America," 16 Dec. 2019 The committee said the issue transcended partisan politics in its appeal to properly honor and acknowledge the 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians who were massacred from 1915 to 1923 under the Ottoman Empire, now modern-day Turkey., "Scuffles break out in Glendale as Rep. Adam Schiff speaks at Armenian genocide event," 15 Dec. 2019

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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Statistics for transcend

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Transcend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for transcend


How to pronounce transcend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of transcend

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


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.

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