trans·​pose | \ tran(t)s-ˈpōz How to pronounce transpose (audio) \
transposed; transposing

Definition of transpose

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to change the relative place or normal order of : alter the sequence of transpose letters to change the spelling
2 : to change in form or nature : transform
3 : to render into another language, style, or manner of expression : translate
4 : to transfer from one place or period to another : shift
5 : to write or perform (a musical composition) in a different key
6 : to bring (a term) from one side of an algebraic equation to the other with change of sign


trans·​pose | \ ˈtran(t)s-ˌpōz How to pronounce transpose (audio) \

Definition of transpose (Entry 2 of 2)

: a matrix formed from another matrix by interchanging the rows and columns

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Other Words from transpose


transposable \ tran(t)s-​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce transpose (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for transpose


reverse, transpose, invert mean to change to the opposite position. reverse is the most general term and may imply change in order, side, direction, meaning. reversed his position on the trade agreement transpose implies a change in order or relative position of units often through exchange of position. transposed the letters to form an anagram invert applies chiefly to turning upside down or inside out. the number 9 looks like an inverted 6

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Though transposing two digits can be disastrous, transposing two letters in a word often doesn't matter too much. (You can prboalby raed tihs setnence witohut too mcuh toruble.) Transposing two words or sounds—as in "Can I sew you to another sheet?"—has been a good source of humor over the years. Doctors sometimes discover that something in the body—a nerve, an organ, etc.—has been transposed, or moved away from its proper place. For musicians, transposing means changing the key of a piece; if you can do this at a moment's notice, you've been well trained.

Examples of transpose in a Sentence

Verb I must have accidentally transposed the numbers when I dialed his phone number. a story originally set in London that has been transposed to Paris for this film a melody transposed to the key of C
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moreover, diverse parties could use the token and transpose value inside them without ever using banks. Sani Abdul-jabbar, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 But absent this explanation, the ambience did much to transpose the fauna of the Nocturnal House into a child’s gathering nightmares. Rebecca Giggs, The Atlantic, 5 Oct. 2020 Of all of these, the birthday may be the most challenging to transpose online: Birthday parties lack inherent structure. Alix Wall,, 1 June 2020 My morning labor, normally the joyful scrum of teaching 125 elementary schoolers, instead involved reconfiguring music lessons that could be transposed to a digital recording. Roger Keane, WSJ, 1 May 2020 Prints of Queen Anne’s lace, ferns, and herbs from the NEPS garden were transposed into delicate images. Denise Coffey,, 30 Sep. 2019 But the dementia gives the team a clue to go on: Joe may have put the Purple Heart in a safe place but transposed a few details. Sara Netzley,, 15 Apr. 2020 Like the book, the series transposes the event back about a year (before the 1940 Republican National Convention) and reimagines it as the candidate-to-be's coming-out speech. Ani Bundel, Ars Technica, 17 Mar. 2020 The measures will now need to be approved by the European Council, most likely in June, after which EU member states like France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands will have up to two years to transpose the regulations into national law. Richard Smirke, Billboard, 17 Apr. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Visual-effects studios in Hollywood transpose actors’ faces onto the bodies of fitter, more disposable stunt doubles. The Economist, 24 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1937, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for transpose


Middle English, from Anglo-French transposer, from Latin transponere (perfect indicative transposui) to change the position of, from trans- + ponere to put, place — more at position

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Time Traveler for transpose

Time Traveler

The first known use of transpose was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near transpose



transposing instrument

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Transpose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for transpose



English Language Learners Definition of transpose

: to change the position or order of (two things)
: to change (something) by giving it a different form, using it in a different place or situation, etc.
: to write or perform (a piece of music) in a different key


trans·​pose | \ trans-ˈpōz How to pronounce transpose (audio) \
transposed; transposing

Kids Definition of transpose

1 : to change the position or order of Transpose the letters in "tow" to spell "two."
2 : to write or perform in a different musical key


trans·​pose | \ tran(t)s-ˈpōz How to pronounce transpose (audio) \
transposed; transposing

Medical Definition of transpose

transitive verb

: to transfer from one place or period to another specifically : to subject to genetic transposition

intransitive verb

: to undergo genetic transposition

Other Words from transpose

transposable \ -​ˈpō-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce transpose (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on transpose

Nglish: Translation of transpose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of transpose for Arabic Speakers


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