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 initial theory was that Miami would use McCain to ease the rookie’s NFL transition, while Holland learned Flores’ complicated hybrid defense. Omar Kelly,, "Dolphins release veteran safety and team captain Bobby McCain," 6 May 2021 Looking ahead, cost declines in the second half are expected to moderate from the first half rate, as the company plans to lap some Covid-19 saving initiatives and see closure or digital transition of some of its newspapers in Australia in Q4. Trefis Team, Forbes, "News Corp Stock To Trade Higher Post Fiscal Q3 Release?," 6 May 2021 Glen Sather, who has been a senior adviser with the team since 2019, will work with Drury during the transition period. New York Times, "Rangers in Turmoil: Brawls on the Ice Follow Front Office Firings," 5 May 2021 Rather, international medical guidance recommends that prepubertal youth socially transition and receive mental health therapy. NBC News, "Amazon will not remove book advocates say endangers transgender youth," 5 May 2021 Ingenuity’s transition from conducting a technology demonstration to an operations demonstration brings with it a new flight envelope. Mike Wehner, BGR, "Here’s what NASA wants its Mars helicopter to do next," 4 May 2021 The enrollment drops happened primarily in transition grades — kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades— and could cost the district future funding. Emma Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco has nearly $60 million to help struggling students catch up. How will it spend the money?," 4 May 2021 If mass vaccination was the first, emergency phase of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign, Moore says, this current second phase is the awkward transition period before vaccines are given like any other routine shot. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "The Era of Mass Vaccinations Is Ending," 4 May 2021 The move reflects a growing trend in the food industry, as more and more institutions transition toward more sustainable ingredients and food practices. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "One of the world's best restaurants is going vegan," 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At Gojek, corporate and support staff not only had to transition to completely virtual work, but the company’s drivers faced enormous risks due to the person-to-person contact at the heart of their jobs. Danielle Keeton-olsen, Forbes, "Forbes Asia CEO Webinar: The Way Forward," 27 Apr. 2021 Projecting how quarterbacks will transition to the NFL regularly entails multiple leaps of faith, but whichever team selects Lance will have to sort through several unknowns. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "10 boom-or-bust prospects in 2021 NFL draft: Trey Lance, Zach Wilson leave question marks," 17 Apr. 2021 Delaney cofounded Kingish along with her sons who serve as board members, to help teach teens how to transition to respectable young men and women in society. IndyStar, "Everyone counted these kids out. But this 38th Street football team defies expectations.," 1 Mar. 2021 Ahlgrim said that if the district has to continue to cut costs into the 2024 fiscal year, the school day will have to transition from eight periods to seven, something that the district is trying to avoid through the introduction of a referendum. Erin Yarnall,, "Warren Township District 121 to cut up to 15 positions; future staff and class reductions possible," 25 Feb. 2021 Be thankful for the Minnesota educators who have been working in uncertain circumstances, learning on the fly how to quickly transition between in-person and distance learning. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Thanksgiving 2020: Staying mindful while being grateful," 25 Nov. 2020 Now, close to the end of the pandemic, policymakers have to grapple with a far less straightforward task: how to transition over 20 million borrowers back into normal repayment on October 1. Preston Cooper, Forbes, "We Need To Be Ready For Student Loan Payments To Resume In October," 12 Apr. 2021 The community is also on a mission to train traditional artists on how to transition into the crypto art market. Marris Adikwu, Vogue, "How Women Are Carving Out a Space of Their Own in the NFT Market," 30 Mar. 2021 At that time, the state plans to transition Covid-19 mandates into guidance. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Half of US adults could have a Covid-19 vaccine dose by the weekend, but experts say it's too soon to declare victory," 7 Apr. 2021

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Transition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for transition



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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