Definition of transpire in English:



[no object]
  • 1usually it transpireswith clause (of a secret or something unknown) come to be known; be revealed.

    ‘it transpired that millions of dollars of debt had been hidden in a complex web of transactions’
    • ‘He said: ‘It transpired that it was this man's job to clean up the oil and he had forgotten.’’
    • ‘And when the facts emerged and it transpired that Michael had nothing to do with any of it - people still preferred to believe the lie.’
    • ‘And thus tonight it transpired that I was/am in the foulest mood known to man - and required a sizeable chunk of food to calm myself.’
    • ‘During questioning, it transpired that the US Secret Service would continue providing protection services to the twins.’
    • ‘After exhaustive enquiries and a week of sleepless nights, it transpired that he had not paid his annual Sign Tax and that the plant pots might fall on someone's head and cause a nasty injury.’
    • ‘He accepted the post as an opportunity to serve his country - until it transpired that it would interfere with his lucrative consultancy business, at which point he bowed out.’
    • ‘However, on examination it transpired that envelope A did not actually have a window.’
    • ‘So while rueing the fact that we are not in the right business to make lots of money it transpired that none of us had chosen the field we were working in but had, by various means, fallen into it.’
    • ‘As the days wore on, and others, at and outside that meeting, tendered evidence, it transpired that none of the other six could recall the alleged threat of physical violence.’
    • ‘It transpired that the new owners have appealed against the island being designated a right-to-roam area, insisting that it could suffer serious erosion if walked upon.’
    • ‘It transpired that inflammation in his right ankle had been caused by a bone spur.’
    • ‘Although the configuration program specified tasks for all 100 cells, it transpired that only 32 were essential to the circuit's operation.’
    • ‘It transpired that the couple were among many passengers travelling under assumed names, which along with stowaways led to confusion when calculating the final death toll of around 1,500.’
    • ‘After emails and phone calls and general panicking, it transpired that I needed an iVisa, the appointments for which are at 8am, and only 8am.’
    • ‘It transpired that the cat had gone missing in the night.’
    • ‘Once I calmed him down it transpired that he had been trying to pump up one of the tyres on his wife's car and done something wrong with the foot pump resulting in a flat tyre.’
    • ‘It transpired that there were no rules in the 1950s about which primate cells to use for growing polio vaccines: any species could be used provided it made good cultures.’
    • ‘It transpired that he had two large containers in the rear of the van which he was filling with fuel and selling to taxi drivers in Darwen.’
    become known, become apparent, be revealed, be disclosed, come to light, emerge, come out, get out, be discovered, be uncovered, materialize, leak out, turn out, be made public
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Prove to be the case.
      ‘as it transpired, he was right’
    2. 1.2 Occur; happen.
      ‘I'm going to find out exactly what transpired’
      • ‘The evidence of what transpired at the meeting is in dispute.’
      • ‘The boy told everything that had transpired since his companion's collapse.’
      • ‘Her thoughts were distant, fixated on what had transpired the night before.’
      • ‘Whatever transpired, it has certainly turned my son's attitude around!!’
      • ‘We do not know if he intended thus to set in motion the events that subsequently transpired.’
      • ‘Camp was made, no one suspecting what would soon transpire.’
      • ‘The enormity of what had just transpired was slowly sinking into each scientist.’
      • ‘I can't tell you what transpired next, it is too appalling to account.’
      • ‘Closing my eyes, I could almost see exactly what was transpiring on the screen.’
      • ‘Whether, in fact, the expected actually transpires is not the issue.’
      • ‘Details about what transpired at the meeting were not released.’
      • ‘Perhaps in that there is a strange lesson for whatever transpires in the culture after the election on 5 May.’
      • ‘More than a quarter of a century has now transpired since his election.’
      • ‘We'll need to wait and see what actually transpires now with the data.’
      • ‘Knowing about what had transpired that night only opened up a can of worms.’
      • ‘Being informed of what transpired during fragmentary blackouts often cued further recall.’
      • ‘And so you can imagine his feeling the next day when the events transpired.’
      • ‘Then, when the actual event transpires, things go in a refreshingly unanticipated manner.’
      • ‘Trying to grasp the magnitude of what has just transpired he slowly begins to rise.’
      • ‘Such varied images of what might transpire at a meeting suggests the novelty of the institution itself.’
      • ‘So we won't even talk about the tragedy that transpired last night.’
      happen, occur, take place, come about, come to pass, crop up, turn up, arise, chance, ensue, befall, be realized, take shape
      View synonyms
  • 2Botany
    (of a plant or leaf) give off water vapour through the stomata.

    ‘a cactus does not transpire as freely as most plants’
    with object ‘moisture is transpired from plants much more quickly than is realized’
    • ‘Mulch also limits frost penetration, enabling the roots of evergreens - whose leaves transpire moisture even in winter - to take up more water.’
    • ‘As the flowers transpire, water evaporates and is trapped at the roof of the bricks.’
    • ‘Throughout most of the day, when the plant is transpiring, these vessels will contain water under substantial hydraulic tension.’
    • ‘The fourth leaf was allowed to transpire normally, or was wrapped in a transparent plastic bag.’
    • ‘The same cycle was found in plants transpiring in ambient conditions and where transpiration was greatly reduced.’
    • ‘Leaves in sunny microhabitats transpire more than those in shade microhabitats.’


The standard general sense of transpire is ‘come to be known’ (as in it transpired that millions of dollars of debt had been hidden in a complex web of transactions). From this, a looser sense has developed, meaning ‘happen or occur’ (I'm going to find out exactly what transpired). This looser sense, first recorded in US English towards the end of the 18th century, is criticized for being jargon, an unnecessarily long word used where occur and happen would do just as well. The newer sense is very common, however, accounting for around half of the citations for transpire in the Oxford English Corpus


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘emit as vapour through the surface’): from French transpirer or medieval Latin transpirare, from Latin trans- ‘through’ + spirare ‘breathe’. Sense 1 (mid 18th century) is a figurative use comparable with ‘leak out’.