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 But the riskiest promise is the Tory one not to extend the transition period beyond December 2020. The Economist, "Whoever wins Britain’s election, the state will expand," 30 Nov. 2019 Their bouncy wings repeatedly beat the Cavs in transition, scoring 24 fast-break points. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "John Beilein frustrated with repeated travel calls against Cleveland Cavaliers: 'It’s not fair’," 28 Nov. 2019 One of his three turnovers was a second-quarter Jamal Murray steal atop the 3-point line, punctuated by an emphatic one-handed Murray dunk in transition with Thomas trailing. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "“I can’t thank them enough”: Isaiah Thomas reflects on lone Nuggets season in Wizards defeat," 27 Nov. 2019 Deep 3-pointers off a dribble move and in transition. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Cassius Winston carries Michigan State basketball to 75-62 win over UCLA in Maui," 27 Nov. 2019 The key moment in the transition to what scholars call the modern state system arrived in the middle of the seventeenth century, with the famous treaty that ended the Thirty Years’ War. Joshua Jelly-schapiro, The New Yorker, "What Are Borders For?," 27 Nov. 2019 With regards to Brexit, Johnson is promising a swift and moderate delivery to his Brexit deal and a short transition period. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Boris Johnson’s Extraordinary Manifesto," 26 Nov. 2019 But the real challenge for Labour or anyone else is to identify the U.K. industry’s role in the transition to cleaner forms of energy and the fiscal incentives that would deliver that. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Jeremy Corbyn Is Coming for Your Old Profits," 21 Nov. 2019 Incidentally, President Barrow is currently seeking to extend his rule beyond the three-year transition period originally agreed upon, ending in January 2020. Franzisca Zanker, Quartz Africa, "The return of migrants from Europe is causing problems for The Gambia," 21 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The term spinster transitioned from describing an occupation that employed many women – a spinner of wool – to a legal term for an independent, unmarried woman. Amy Froide, The Conversation, "Spinster, old maid or self-partnered – why words for single women have changed through time," 2 Dec. 2019 The entertainment began her career as a VJ, most prominently with MTV Base, and soon transitioned into music, signing to B’Hits Music Group in 2012. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Rotimi May Have Found His 'Future Mrs. Butterscotch' In Singer Vanessa Mdee," 2 Dec. 2019 The Nolan family, who bought the land in the 1850s, transitioned the property to a tenant farm and built the main Neoclassical house in 1905. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The Historic Sites Named to Georgia’s Top 10 “Places in Peril” List," 20 Nov. 2019 For the first few years of actively transitioning, I was filled with rage. Xoai Pham, Teen Vogue, "Rediscovering What Being a Transgender Woman Means to Me," 15 Nov. 2019 The rules lay out how the House Intelligence Committee — now leading the investigation by deposing diplomats and other officials behind closed doors — would transition to public hearings., "BREAKING: House passes impeachment resolution laying out rules for inquiry.," 1 Nov. 2019 The rules lay out how the House Intelligence Committee — now leading the investigation by deposing diplomats and other officials behind closed doors — would transition to public hearings. Matthew Daly, Fortune, "House Approves Rules for Trump Impeachment Probe," 31 Oct. 2019 The county’s spending is of interest as members of Congress seek to make permanent the money’s source -- a federal safety net program intended to help counties transition away from their reliance on federal timber harvests. oregonlive, "Struggling Oregon county spent $43,000 traveling to D.C. to lobby. It wants $2,000 for the receipts.," 25 Oct. 2019 But, he was sold on the mission of Juul, to help adults transition away from cigarette use. Angela Ruggiero, The Mercury News, "Voters of East Bay city to decide if sale of vape pens should be banned," 13 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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Time Traveler for transition

Time Traveler

The first known use of transition was in 1545

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Statistics for transition

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Transition.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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).


delight or enjoyment

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