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

Eight years after its predecessor was demolished and 17 years after planning began, San Francisco’s new transit center has an official opening date. John King,, "S.F.’s long-awaited Salesforce Transit Center sets opening date for Aug. 12," 10 July 2018 The Social Democrats previously rejected the idea of transit centers. The Christian Science Monitor, "German leaders agree on one approach to mitigating migrant crisis," 3 July 2018 In Arlit, a sweltering transit center designed for a few hundred people lately has held upwards of 1,000 at a time for weeks on end. Fox News, "Algeria abandons 13,000 migrants in the Sahara," 25 June 2018 Developers David Irwin and Mark Lewis have proposed a hotel and housing in an overhaul of Anchorage's downtown transit center, and a grocery store and housing in a major new development at the intersection of Tudor and Elmore Roads. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Condos on top of shops: A proposed Dimond Boulevard project signals a new kind of Anchorage growth," 24 June 2018 Terwilleger was scheduled to be released from the transit center July 6. Everton Bailey Jr.,, "2nd escaped inmate caught trying to help man break into his own car, police say," 8 June 2018 Another downtown Oceanside project in the works is the Surf Breezes Hotel, a five-floor, 45-room boutique hotel to be built at the corner of Tremont and Topeka streets near the city transit center. Phil Diehl,, "Tourism spending up 10 percent in Oceanside," 25 May 2018 That service could feed into Metro’s transit center north of Interstate 10, meaning Woodlands buses would turn around for the return trip without being stuck in gridlock. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Commuter buses eye new routes as job sites spread out," 22 Mar. 2018 Such neighborhoods are also often underserved by transit, which means residents are subject to the crushing economic burden of car dependence, particularly predatory auto lending. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "No, Cycling Isn't Elitist," 5 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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Statistics for transit

Last Updated

5 Nov 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

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


a private place of worship

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