tran·​si·​tion | \ tran(t)-ˈsi-shən How to pronounce transition (audio) , tran-ˈzi-, chiefly British tran(t)-ˈsi-zhən\

Definition of transition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another : change
b : a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another
2a : a musical modulation
b : a musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another
3 : an abrupt change in energy state or level (as of an atomic nucleus or a molecule) usually accompanied by loss or gain of a single quantum of energy


transitioned; transitioning; transitions

Definition of transition (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a transition transition into college

Examples of transition in a Sentence

Noun We want to have a smooth transition when the new owners take control of the company. the sometimes difficult transition from childhood to adulthood The country made a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy. Verb The company has transitioned to new management in the past year. a student who is transitioning to a new school
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Deal in the works for months Wink arrived from Houston in late March to help facilitate the transition. Thomas Jewell,, "Foundation Honda takes the wheel at former Motorcars in Cleveland Heights," 12 Sep. 2019 Part of the agreement will be to ease the transition for customers. J.d. Duggan, Twin Cities, "CenturyLink may cut cable in St. Paul’s north suburbs," 11 Sep. 2019 This behavior is akin to a phase transition, the researchers said — like when a metal changes from a conductor to an insulator under certain conditions. Quanta Magazine, "Strange Metal-like Bonds Discovered in Customized Crystals," 3 Sep. 2019 The concession is the location of the Rendille’s Galgulame ceremony, which takes place every 14 years and celebrates the transition of young people into adulthood. Zoe Cormack, Quartz Africa, "Kenya’s huge wind power project might be great for the environment but not for local communities," 3 Sep. 2019 After the score leveled out again in the second half, the nature of the game completely changed, opening up from end to end as both teams charged through the open field in transition. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution," 17 Sep. 2019 Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum injured his ankle Tuesday after feeding Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton in transition with 2.1 seconds left in overtime. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Devin Booker's absence from Team USA draws scrutiny after team squeaks out win over Turkey," 4 Sep. 2019 But Cockrell was the ideal mayor for a city in transition. Gilbert Garcia,, "Lila Cockrell: a product of her time who transcended her time," 30 Aug. 2019 The transition at quarterback is symbolic of a younger team for the Seahawks, who return just two all-league players from a year ago. Matt Szabo, Daily Pilot, "High School Football Preview: Ocean View turns to senior quarterback Braden Crabtree," 28 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Williams has remained in Meghan's inner circle as she's transitioned to royal life. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears a Denim Dress to Watch Serena Williams in the U.S. Open Finals," 7 Sep. 2019 Hirsh, a professional ballerina and choreographer in her native Canada, transitioned into being an arts manager and ballet teacher. Pomerado News, "Win prizes while voting for Rancho Bernardo honorary mayor candidates," 28 Aug. 2019 Chia seeds have officially transitioned from trendy to mainstream. Cynthia Sass, Mph,, "7 Chia Seed Benefits, According to a Nutritionist," 27 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, most of my college friends had transitioned to grad school or salaried jobs. Aram Mrjoian, Longreads, "Bearing the Weight of My Grandfathers’ Old Clothes," 15 June 2019 While work is still underway to fully occupy the facility, its first residents are learning to transition to a sober lifestyle in the home’s modern amenities and its apartment-style and community living. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "New drug treatment facility in Elgin touts communal living, modern amenities," 11 June 2019 Cockrell transitioned quickly, playing in all 16 games in 2017 for New York, with nine starts. Scott Fowler, charlotteobserver, "Be part of hometown NFL team? Panthers' Ross Cockrell, high school teammate both have," 30 May 2018 Southside fought its takeover unsuccessfully, and along with Edgewood and Beaumont ISDs now is transitioning out of state control. Krista Torralva,, "Harlandale ISD lawyer sees voting rights as defense against TEA," 13 Sep. 2019 That's because tickets in the last decade have, like John Burns from Cincinnati, transitioned out of the physical realm. Steve Rushin,, "The Death of Paper Tickets and the Stories They Leave Behind," 12 Sep. 2019

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


1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1893, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for transition


Latin transition-, transitio, from transire

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Statistics for transition

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for transition

The first known use of transition was in 1545

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More Definitions for transition


How to pronounce transition (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of transition

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a change from one state or condition to another



English Language Learners Definition of transition (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US : to make a change from one state, place, or condition to another : to make a transition


tran·​si·​tion | \ tran-ˈsi-shən How to pronounce transition (audio) , -ˈzi-\

Kids Definition of transition

: an act or the process of passing from one state, stage, place, or subject to another : change


tran·​si·​tion | \ tran(t)s-ˈish-ən, tranz-, chiefly British tran(t)s-ˈizh-\

Medical Definition of transition

1 : passage from one state or stage to another especially : an abrupt change in energy state or level (as of an atomic nucleus or a molecule) usually accompanied by loss or gain of a single quantum of energy
2 : a mutation in RNA or DNA that results from the substitution of one purine base for the other or of one pyrimidine base for the other

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Comments on transition

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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