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

c : change, transition

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

Hardy, a 28-year-old legal assistant at a Downtown law firm, has been traveling the city, preaching the need for a better transit system. Hannah Sparling,, "Is this guy a public-transit superhero? Or is he just a pain in the butt?," 10 July 2018 Of the 315 people barred from the Bay Area’s backbone transit system last year, 209 were identified by police officers as black, according to BART data. Ted Andersen,, "Two-thirds of people banned from BART are black — and agency isn’t asking why," 6 July 2018 While the intended application for those tunnels is to eventually build his Hyperloop, an underground high-speed transit system, the same tools could perhaps be used to help rescue the boys as well. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Elon Musk Would Be 'Happy to Help' Rescue the Thai Boys Stuck in a Cave," 5 July 2018 While traversing narrow sidewalks with strollers or using transit systems can be especially tricky, simply crossing the street presents a challenge, especially for children. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why do young parents move away? Our cities aren’t designed for kids," 19 June 2018 The decision to postpone hiring two additional officers came as the board approved the transit system’s $2.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, "BART directors to evaluate program to crack down on fare cheats; delay expansion," 14 June 2018 Spreckels owned the Hotel del Coronado, the local transit system, the San Diego & Arizona railway and vast real estate holdings as well as The Union and Evening Tribune newspapers., "June 8, 1926: John D. Spreckels dies at home in Coronado," 8 June 2018 Earlier this week, it was announced that Freeman would voice Vancouver, Canada’s transit system in a deal that was set to begin this summer. Nick Vadala,, "Report: Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct," 24 May 2018 If approved, these district corporations could build infrastructure and facilities; acquire property, including parkland; operate transit services, enter contracts, and incur indebtedness., "Should Massachusetts allow cities and towns to create Community Benefit Districts?," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The proposal, known as a ‘safe third country agreement,’ would potentially require asylum seekers transiting through Mexico to apply for protection in that nation rather than in the United States. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Leaked recordings of Ga. governor candidate highlight why people mistrust politicians," 11 July 2018 One major question is how López Obrador will treat the tens of thousands of Central American migrants who transit through Mexico on their way to the United States each year. Kevin Sieff, The Seattle Times, "López Obrador, winner of Mexican election, given broad mandate," 2 July 2018 The Star Legend is believed to be the largest cruise ship to transit the locks and the century-old Ship Canal. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "Neighborhood crime may not be as bad as some Seattleites fear and Amazon buys online pharmacy | Thursday Morning Brief, June 28," 28 June 2018 These telescopes will be able to measure the spectra of light passing through exoplanet atmospheres as the planets transit their stars. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's Next Great Planet Hunter Has Arrived," 10 Apr. 2018 The last time a U.S. aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007, according to Reuters. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "China slams US after B-52 bomber flyby in South China Sea, calls move ‘risky’," 6 June 2018 The grandmother and mother of four was arrested in December 2014 while transiting through the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on a flight from Shanghai to Melbourne, according to another CNN affiliate, SBS News. James Griffiths, CNN, "Australian grandmother sentenced to death by hanging for drug smuggling," 24 May 2018 Bliss is one of 20 cruise ships that are transiting the canal this season that are too big for the old locks, according to the Panama Canal Authority. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "New Norwegian Bliss becomes biggest cruise ship ever to transit Panama Canal," 14 May 2018 By reexamining the entire bus system, the city has a chance to fix its routes, ease congestion, give better options to transit riders, and maybe even relieve the pressure on its strained subway network. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "NYC Is Redesigning Its Ancient, Ponderous, and Unpopular Bus System," 24 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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Phrases Related to transit

in transit

transit camp

transit visa

Statistics for transit

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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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Comments on transit

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