transpire

verb
tran·​spire | \tran(t)-ˈspī(-ə)r \
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

For all their caring and generosity, Marga and Esteve can’t begin to imagine what Frida is feeling, or, for that matter, what transpires in the fantasy life shared by Frida and their own tender, vulnerable Anna. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Summer 1993’ Review: Darkness Under the Spanish Sun," 24 May 2018 Former DeKalb County police officer Robert Olsen testified Monday that his showdown with unarmed veteran Anthony Hill transpired in about five seconds, an accelerated timeline that generated new questions about his decision to use deadly force. Christian Boone, ajc, "DeKalb officer who shot unarmed vet: “I was being attacked”," 21 May 2018 Massive oval openings above our heads meant this all transpired in open air. Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With Kusama Museum and art-filled islands, Japan is a paradise for art nerds," 27 Apr. 2018 No move seems uncharacterized in this tale of an ordinary farmer trapped between ailing wife Zeena and the alluring servant Mattie, all of it transpiring in a wintry American village. Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle, "Almost boundless creativity as SF Ballet’s new-works festival opens," 22 Apr. 2018 Like other Rhimes productions, the show is very much a work of capital-T Television, a turbocharged melodrama in which twists and surprises transpire with comforting predictability. Robert Lloyd, latimes.com, "Netflix-bound Shondaland has a parting gift for ABC: the 'Grey's Anatomy' spinoff 'Station 19'," 22 Mar. 2018 The read on what's more of a worry, what's going to be going on in Singapore tonight or what just transpired in Canada over the weekend, after this. Fox News, "How Will Markets Respond to North Korea Talks?," 12 June 2018 Ron Hextall doesn’t like using the word rebuild when describing his four seasons as the Flyers’ general manager, but, in a sense, that’s what has transpired. Sam Carchidi, Philly.com, "It will take more than James van Riemsdyk to make the Flyers a contender, but it's a start | Sam Carchidi," 2 July 2018 But now many of those who have felt buoyed by Trump’s nationalist views worry about his apparent admiration for Putin – and what might transpire at Monday’s summit. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "How strong a Europe does US want? In Trump era, that's still the issue.," 13 July 2018

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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Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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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

: to happen

: to become known

of a plant : to have water evaporate from the surface of leaves

transpire

verb
trans·​pire | \trans-ˈpīr \
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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