tran·​sit | \ ˈtran(t)-sət , ˈtran-zət \

Definition of transit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : conveyance of persons or things from one place to another
(2) : usually local transportation especially of people by public conveyance also : vehicles or a system engaged in such transportation
b : an act, process, or instance of passing through or over
2a : passage of a celestial body over the meridian of a place or through the field of a telescope
b : passage of a smaller body (such as Venus) across the disk of a larger (such as the sun)
3 : a theodolite with the telescope mounted so that it can be transited


transited; transiting; transits

Definition of transit (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a transit

transitive verb

1a : to pass over or through
b : to cause to pass over or through
2 : to pass across (a meridian, a celestial body, or the field of view of a telescope)
3 : to turn (a telescope) over about the horizontal transverse axis in surveying

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Examples of transit in a Sentence


the problems of urban transit


once you transit that stretch of dense woods, the hiking should be much easier

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On balance, scooters have improved American cities, and that these discussions are happening at all is a huge opportunity to make transit more efficient and equitable. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The scooter stampede of 2018 is great news for urban transportation," 5 Dec. 2018 Once the shuttles prove themselves as a neighborhood circulator downtown, then Columbus will explore how this new technology can help make transit more equitable. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Autonomous shuttle tech gets test run in Ohio," 23 Oct. 2018 The Earth-Mars transit typically only takes about six months. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Two orbiters begin their long journey to Mercury Friday night," 19 Oct. 2018 Diversifying transportation methods through bike lanes, sidewalks or transit is a result of Charlotte’s rapid growth, Raskoskie said. Leah Asmelash, charlotteobserver, "Think Charlotte's a terrible city for biking? Here's how the city hopes to change that.," 21 June 2018 The transit comes nearly two years after the completion of a massive expansion at the Panama Canal that has opened it up to the world's biggest cruise ships. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "New Norwegian Bliss becomes biggest cruise ship ever to transit Panama Canal," 14 May 2018 New York City is out to change that, with a top-to-bottom review of its network that will totally rethink how transit works there. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "This Week in the Future of Cars: Let’s Get That Win," 27 Apr. 2018 In response to Wright’s concerns about the student transit passes, Busch said the vast majority of the 55,000 students who use the passes use them responsibly. Julie Shaw,, "2 stab victims in SEPTA subway are students at nearby school," 26 Apr. 2018 If not, the families would be issued notices to appear in immigration court at a later date, and dropped off at transit centers like Greyhound bus stations. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump administration to release hundreds of immigrant families from detention," 27 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The weak wave of low pressure coupled with a high altitude disturbance should transit our region, out of Pennsylvania, overnight, driving a cool front through. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "Heavy showers and storms may target Washington region around sunset," 20 June 2018 According to the Navy Times, the Fitzgerald’s Voyager Management System, a navigational aid designed to assist the crew in transiting busy waters, was broken and cannibalized to keep other systems running. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Secret Probe Into USS Fitzgerald Disaster Revealed a Ship in Appalling Shape," 14 Jan. 2019 Planets transiting the Second House reveal changes in resources or self-esteem. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 Days after the cancellation, the Pentagon accused a Chinese warship of harassing a U.S. Navy vessel transiting the South China Sea after the Chinese refused a request from the Pentagon to have another American vessel have a port visit in Hong Kong. Gordon Lubold, WSJ, "Top U.S., China Officials Hash Out Differences," 9 Nov. 2018 Moises Gutierrez, deputy executive director for engineering and design, and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff each apologized to transit riders for the outages, during a board meeting on Thursday. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Escalators at UW light-rail station keep breaking down; Sound Transit will improve them — and open a staircase," 26 Oct. 2018 However, Beijing demands that foreign navy ships seek its permission before transiting Chinese territorial waters. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "South Korean Warship Sails by Disputed South China Sea Islands," 28 Sep. 2018 Some people were given documents that gives them 20 days to transit the country on their way to the U.S. border with the stated goal of applying for asylum, according to The Associated Press. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Migrant 'caravan' begins to splinter, 'disperse' after Trump raises alarm," 2 Oct. 2018 When a planet transits its star, some of the starlight passes through the planet's atmosphere before reaching Earth. Harrison Tasoff,, "NASA's TESS Satellite Will Supercharge Search for Nearby, Earth-Like Worlds," 15 Apr. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for transit


Middle English transite, from Latin transitus, from transire to go across, pass

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Statistics for transit

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for transit

The first known use of transit was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for transit



English Language Learners Definition of transit

: the act of moving people or things from one place to another


tran·​sit | \ ˈtran-sət , -zət\

Kids Definition of transit

1 : the act of passing through or across the transit of a satellite's signals
2 : the act or method of carrying things from one place to another The goods were lost in transit.
3 : local transportation of people in public vehicles
4 : a surveyor's instrument for measuring angles

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