trans·​gres·​sion tran(t)s-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce transgression (audio)
: an act, process, or instance of transgressing: such as
: infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty
: the spread of the sea over land areas and the consequent unconformable deposit of sediments on older rocks

Examples of transgression in a Sentence

acts that are transgressions against the laws of civilized societies everywhere a dying woman asking for divine forgiveness for a lifetime of transgressions
Recent Examples on the Web There is something inherently pornographic about this side of the media, given its obsession with celebrity, intimacy, and transgression. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 The Chinese government’s transgressions are legion, including legislative interference, historical revisionism, and the outright denial of the Dalai Lama’s fundamental right to guide the choice of his successor. Lobsang Sangay, Foreign Affairs, 6 Nov. 2023 Gavin Newsom just signed a bill that bans the use of suspensions for willful defiance — transgressions such as talking back to a teacher or breaking dress code — across schools in California. Daniel Buck, National Review, 21 Oct. 2023 The transgressions feel more severe, and, it must be said, more exciting. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2023 But major payouts continue to occur periodically — sometimes over conduct from decades ago, such as at Cleveland High School, and some from recent transgressions, as at Oxnard Elementary. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 Still, voters did not hold Mr. Farmer’s transgressions against his party, and have since delivered landslide victories for Republican agriculture candidates — often by the biggest margins of the seven races for statewide office. David W. Chen Jon Cherry, New York Times, 1 Nov. 2023 The transgressions of Killers of the Flower of Moon cannot do justice to this awful history because Scorsese’s regular gangster template is hackneyed. Armond White, National Review, 20 Oct. 2023 But Berry’s moral transgressions don’t come as a complete surprise. Philip Clark, The New York Review of Books, 28 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'transgression.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of transgression was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near transgression

Cite this Entry

“Transgression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


trans·​gres·​sion tran(t)s-ˈgresh-ən How to pronounce transgression (audio)
: an act, process, or example of transgressing

More from Merriam-Webster on transgression

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