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

The head of the transit union representing New York City’s subway and bus workers has raised the prospect of a labor strike as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority seeks to combat overtime abuse. Paul Berger, WSJ, "As MTA Scrutinizes Worker Overtime, Union Raises Specter of Transit Strike," 14 May 2019 Police brutality is something the actress knows about: Zendaya was still living in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, when a young black man, Oscar Grant, was shot by a transit cop, not far from the elementary school where Zendaya’s mother taught. Tyler Mitchell, Vogue, "With HBO’s Euphoria, Zendaya Puts Her Disney Past Behind Her Once and For All," 9 May 2019 Both the Kepler/K2 mission and TESS look for exoplanets by searching the skies for transits, when the exoplanets would block part of the light from their host stars. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Finally Able to See Beneath Surface of Mysterious Blue Supergiants," 7 May 2019 All transit systems receive some subsidies, but a system in which more than 80 percent of the cost comes from taxpayers rather than passengers is going to be a tough sell in any city. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "This city has a vision for mass transit that doesn’t involve city buses," 31 Aug. 2018 But, as both men know, the main transit country is Libya, which is in violent disarray. The Economist, "How Matteo Salvini is dominating Italian politics," 21 June 2018 The countries north of Greece had started closing their borders, transforming what was once a transit country into a host nation. NBC News, "Young migrants trapped in Greece find that life in West isn't what they hoped for," 15 Apr. 2018 The topics have loomed over his visit to the North African country, which is currently the biggest transit route for African and Middle Eastern migrants trying to reach Europe. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Reaches Out to Muslims, Champions Migrants in Morocco," 30 Mar. 2019 Back in 2014, Netflix and transit operators accused ISPs of letting peering points intentionally congest, resulting in mysterious Netflix slowdowns that only resolved once ISPs were paid more money. Karl Bode, The Verge, "How the new AT&T could bully its way to streaming domination," 18 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At a news conference on Tuesday morning, officials said the second group of four boys brought out Monday are healthy, and that there are no bats inside the cave so there are no animals that can transit any diseases. Fox News, "Entire Thai soccer team, coach freed from cave after daring rescue, Navy says," 10 July 2018 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

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

21 May 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 strong desire or propensity

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