transpire

verb
tran·​spire | \ tran(t)-ˈspī(-ə)r How to pronounce transpire (audio) \
transpired; transpiring

Definition of transpire

intransitive verb

1 : to take place : go on, occur
2a : to become known or apparent : develop
b : to be revealed : come to light
3 : to give off vaporous material specifically : to give off or exude watery vapor especially from the surfaces of leaves
4 : to pass in the form of a vapor from a living body

transitive verb

: to pass off or give passage to (a fluid) through pores or interstices especially : to excrete (a fluid, such as water) in the form of a vapor through a living membrane (such as the skin)

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Can transpire mean 'to occur'?: Usage Guide

Sense 1 of transpire is the frequent whipping boy of those who suppose sense 2 to be the only meaning of the word. Sense 1 appears to have developed in the late 18th century; it was well enough known to have been used by Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband in 1775. there is nothing new transpired since I wrote you last — Abigail Adams Noah Webster recognized the new sense in his dictionary of 1828. Transpire was evidently a popular word with 19th century journalists; sense 1 turns up in such pretentiously worded statements as "The police drill will transpire under shelter to-day in consequence of the moist atmosphere prevailing." Around 1870 the sense began to be attacked as a misuse on the grounds of etymology, and modern critics echo the damnation of 1870. Sense 1 has been in existence for about two centuries; it is firmly established as standard; it occurs now primarily in serious prose, not the ostentatiously flamboyant prose typical of 19th century journalism.

Did You Know?

Transpire came to life in the late 16th century and was originally used in technical contexts to describe the passage of vapor through the pores of a membrane. From this technical use developed a figurative sense: to escape from secrecy, or to become known. That sense was often used in ambiguous contexts and could be taken to mean happen. (For example, Emily Dickinson wrote in a letter, I long to see you once more ... to tell you of many things which have transpired since we parted.) Thus the to take place sense developed. Around 1870, usage critics began to attack this sense as a misuse, and modern critics occasionally echo that sentiment. But the sense has been common for two centuries and today is found in serious and polished prose.

Examples of transpire in a Sentence

No one will soon forget the historic events that transpired on that day. A plant transpires more freely on a hot dry day. Trees transpire water at a rapid rate.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And, as is to be expected, viewers have been taking to social media to express their love, hate, joy, passion, thirst, shock, and dissatisfaction about everything that's transpired in the third season of Stranger Things. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Stranger Things 3 Memes Will Completely Destroy You," 4 July 2019 Regardless of what transpires in the committee, the debate is sure to continue between the Senate and House, which are poised to pass defense bills differing on these and other issues. Washington Post, "Trump’s emergency border wall declaration to fuel partisan fighting in defense bill," 11 June 2019 Most news reports about the Canyon focused on car jackings that transpired on the surrounding avenues. Steve Almond, Longreads, "My Own ‘Bad Story’: I Thought Journalism Would Make a Hero of Me," 3 Apr. 2018 The flurry of midseason deals that would come after Machado was traded should have prepared fans for what has transpired during this difficult first season of the Elias/Sig Mejdal/Brandon Hyde era. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: As Manny Machado sparks nostalgia, it's important to keep this Orioles team in perspective," 25 June 2019 But when the actual conversation transpired, all the actor could think about was the Irish. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Angel cast and creators reunite for 20th anniversary of beloved vampire drama series," 20 June 2019 One minute and 36 seconds transpired, and with a trio of 3-pointers from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors led by three with 56.6 seconds left. Matt Schneidman, The Mercury News, "Splash Brothers save the Warriors doing what they do best," 10 June 2019 But what actually transpired in Syria during the early morning darkness seemed closer to the careful strategy advocated by his military brass. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Trump pushes ahead with Syria strikes amid broader tumult," 13 Apr. 2018 In addition, the story they were given about what transpired before his death sounds unlikely to those who loved him. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Mysterious Prison Death Leaves Family Searching For Answers A Year Later," 10 June 2019

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

1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for transpire

Middle French transpirer, from Medieval Latin transpirare, from Latin trans- + spirare to breathe

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Statistics for transpire

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for transpire

The first known use of transpire was in 1597

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More Definitions for transpire

transpire

verb

English Language Learners Definition of transpire

formal : to happen
formal : to become known
technical, of a plant : to have water evaporate from the surface of leaves

transpire

verb
trans·​pire | \ trans-ˈpīr How to pronounce transpire (audio) \
transpired; transpiring

Kids Definition of transpire

1 : to come to pass : happen Important events transpired that day.
2 : to become known or apparent It transpired that they had met before.
3 : to give off water vapor through openings in the leaves

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