tran·​scribe | \tran(t)-ˈskrīb \
transcribed; transcribing

Definition of transcribe 

transitive verb

1a : to make a written copy of

b : to make a copy of (dictated or recorded matter) in longhand or on a machine (such as a typewriter)

c : to paraphrase or summarize in writing

d : write down, record

2a : to represent (speech sounds) by means of phonetic symbols

b : translate sense 1a

c : to transfer (data) from one recording form to another

d : to record (as on magnetic tape) for later broadcast

3 : to make a musical transcription of

4 : to cause (DNA or RNA) to undergo genetic transcription

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Other Words from transcribe

transcriber noun

Examples of transcribe in a Sentence

He transcribed all of his great-grandfather's letters. The senator's speech was transcribed. a Mozart string quartet transcribed for piano a system that allows linguists to transcribe the sounds of any language
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Recent Examples on the Web

Speech dictation programs like Dragon passively transcribe language between text and speech without analysis. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "IBM's Jeopardy-Winning AI Is Now Ready to Debate You," 19 June 2018 Finally, the researchers programmed the skill to transcribe words and sentences spoken during the session, and send that data back to the developer. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Turning an Echo Into a Spy Device Only Took Some Clever Coding," 25 Apr. 2018 Scholars transcribed the tapes and studied their contents, and in the epilogue, a male professor gives a talk on them at a university conference several decades into the future. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Week's Grueling Handmaid's Tale Is A One-Woman Show," 27 June 2018 With Kossola guiding the way through his story, Hurston transcribed tales of his childhood in Dahomey (now Benin), his capture at 19, his time in a barracoon, his dehumanizing arrival, and five years of enslavement in Alabama. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon’ Tells the Story of the Slave Trade’s Last Survivor," 2 May 2018 Because the original score for only one of the tracks could be found, CJO artistic director Jeff Lindberg transcribed the remaining pieces, conducting the complete suite Sunday afternoon featuring guest saxophonist Joshua Redman. Howard Reich,, "Honoring Marian McPartland, the jazz icon who smashed glass ceilings," 26 Mar. 2018 There is also a massive volunteer effort to correct any errors generated by the computer and to transcribe handwritten materials. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "Massive Helen Keller archive reveals little-known details about the advocate’s extraordinary life," 1 July 2018 After that, Hutchings was no longer allowed to transcribe the sessions. Joy Lanzendorfer, Longreads, "Ghost Writer: The Story of Patience Worth, the Posthumous Author," 14 June 2018 Here is my attempt to transcribe the lyrics: Woopity scoop. Michael Harriot, The Root, "New Music From MAGA Kanye Asks Black People to Pull Themselves up by Their Yeezy Bootstraps," 28 Apr. 2018

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

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for transcribe

Latin transcribere, from trans- + scribere to write — more at scribe

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for transcribe

The first known use of transcribe was in 1552

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More Definitions for transcribe



English Language Learners Definition of transcribe

: to make a written copy of (something)

: to write down (something that is spoken)

: to rewrite (a piece of music) so that it can be performed by a different instrument or voice


tran·​scribe | \tran-ˈskrīb \
transcribed; transcribing

Kids Definition of transcribe

: to make a copy of


transitive verb
tran·​scribe | \tran(t)s-ˈkrīb \
transcribed; transcribing

Medical Definition of transcribe 

: to cause (as DNA) to undergo genetic transcription

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Comments on transcribe

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a private place of worship

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