tran·​sit | \ ˈtran(t)-sət How to pronounce transit (audio) , ˈtran-zət How to pronounce transit (audio) \

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

Most French workers retire at 63, but in the RATP, the agency that runs Paris transit, the average retirement age is 55.7, and some workers can even retire at 52, though not on full pensions., "PARIS — Parisians thronged the sidewalks, took to bikes and scooters, or canceled their morning commutes altogether Friday, faced with the biggest public transportation strike in nearly 13 years — a warning shot at President Emmanuel Macron’s government over its ambitious pension overhaul plan.," 14 Sep. 2019 Smart municipalities banned private cars from the center of town, opening up free public-transit systems and building civic fleets of self-driving cars that got rid of the space wasted on parking spots. Bill Mckibben, Time, "Hello From the Year 2050. We Avoided the Worst of Climate Change — But Everything Is Different," 12 Sep. 2019 Like the golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the letters of transit in Casablanca, tickets almost always provide passage to a better place. Steve Rushin,, "The Death of Paper Tickets and the Stories They Leave Behind," 12 Sep. 2019 During then-President Barack Obama's three-day visit to Ireland in 2013, the State Department spent just $114,000 on ground transit, paying the same limousine company. Allan Smith, NBC News, "Pence's Doonbeg detour cost nearly $600K in ground transportation fees," 11 Sep. 2019 And because the planet transits, some of that starlight passes through its upper atmosphere en route to telescopes here, picking up and transmitting information about the cocktail of gases in K2-18 b’s air. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Astronomers Find Water on an Exoplanet Twice the Size of Earth," 11 Sep. 2019 In peacetime during a routine transit, not even a stealth bomber can avoid detection. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "I Want To Believe: Night Landings Make the B-2 Bomber Look Like a UFO," 2 Sep. 2019 Smart cards, said Chris Stocking of Clevelanders for Public Transit, speed up the boarding process and keep buses on schedule, encouraging ridership and making the transit system more efficient as a whole. Courtney Astolfi,, "RTA smart fare cards on the way, finally, RTA says," 22 Aug. 2019 Traveling with a disability can be a nightmare—wheelchairs are routinely damaged in transit, for starters, and passengers can often be stranded after landing when airport staff due to collect them never appear. Julia Buckley, Condé Nast Traveler, "How I Travel With My Invisible Disability," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At a minimum, the U.S. is likely to use the incidents in pressing allies to send more naval vessels to the region to protect tankers transiting the strait. Los Angeles Times, "Iran says it detained British tanker in Strait of Hormuz as a ‘reciprocal’ move," 19 July 2019 VLCCs have the option of transiting the canal by discharging half their cargo, sending the oil through the Sumed Pipeline, and pick it up again in the Mediterranean, but the pipeline’s owners have refused to accept Iranian crude since 2012. Time, "British Marines Seize Supertanker Carrying Iranian Oil to Syria, Causing Diplomatic Row," 4 July 2019 The Transit Tax, in whole or in part, burdens interstate commerce by treating transiting vessels like floating ATM machines,’’ Boyajian wrote in the suit. oregonlive, "Owners of oceangoing commercial ships sue Port of Astoria, arguing that $300 transit fee is unconstitutional," 14 Sep. 2019 More people switching to transit might explain the growth in super-commuting found in a recent study by Apartment List, said the study’s author, Chris Salviati. Erin Baldassari, The Mercury News, "Bay Area super-commuting growing: Here’s where it’s the worst," 11 Sep. 2019 In short, transiting worlds have proved to be the keystones in the burgeoning search for Earth’s cosmic twins. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Astronomers Find Water on an Exoplanet Twice the Size of Earth," 11 Sep. 2019 The operations of the fast-growing port are linked to the Gulf of Mexico by a 45-foot-deep channel that allows deep-draft ships to transit relatively shallow Mobile Bay. al, "Plan to enlarge Mobile Ship Channel cleared to proceed," 9 Sep. 2019 Because of an arrangement unique to transit TIFs, $60 million will go to CPS, $6 million will go to the city and $1.6 million to Cook County. Juan Perez Jr.,, "A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.," 1 Aug. 2019 The state doesn’t lack money to try out new ideas for bus routes and mobility hubs, since lawmakers dedicated extra one-time money to transit, in addition to existing funding. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "Colorado transportation leaders are banking on buses and trains as population surges," 5 Aug. 2019

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

8 Oct 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 How to pronounce transit (audio) , -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

What made you want to look up transit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a bell tower

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