Definition of transpire in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Occur; happen.

    ‘I'm going to find out exactly what transpired’
    • ‘Trying to grasp the magnitude of what has just transpired he slowly begins to rise.’
    • ‘Being informed of what transpired during fragmentary blackouts often cued further recall.’
    • ‘The boy told everything that had transpired since his companion's collapse.’
    • ‘The evidence of what transpired at the meeting is in dispute.’
    • ‘Closing my eyes, I could almost see exactly what was transpiring on the screen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whatever transpired, it has certainly turned my son's attitude around!!’
    • ‘Details about what transpired at the meeting were not released.’
    • ‘Her thoughts were distant, fixated on what had transpired the night before.’
    • ‘Camp was made, no one suspecting what would soon transpire.’
    • ‘Knowing about what had transpired that night only opened up a can of worms.’
    • ‘I can't tell you what transpired next, it is too appalling to account.’
    • ‘Perhaps in that there is a strange lesson for whatever transpires in the culture after the election on 5 May.’
    • ‘Whether, in fact, the expected actually transpires is not the issue.’
    • ‘Then, when the actual event transpires, things go in a refreshingly unanticipated manner.’
    • ‘We do not know if he intended thus to set in motion the events that subsequently transpired.’
    • ‘Such varied images of what might transpire at a meeting suggests the novelty of the institution itself.’
    • ‘The enormity of what had just transpired was slowly sinking into each scientist.’
    • ‘So we won't even talk about the tragedy that transpired last night.’
    • ‘And so you can imagine his feeling the next day when the events transpired.’
    happen, occur, take place, come about, come to pass, crop up, turn up, arise, chance, ensue, befall, be realized, take shape
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    1. 1.1 Prove to be the case.
      ‘as it transpired, he was right’
    2. 1.2usually it transpireswith clause (of a secret or something unknown) come to be known; be revealed.
      ‘Yaddo, it transpired, had been under FBI surveillance for some time’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said: ‘It transpired that it was this man's job to clean up the oil and he had forgotten.’’
      • ‘During questioning, it transpired that the US Secret Service would continue providing protection services to the twins.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 inflammation in his right ankle had been caused by a bone spur.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although the configuration program specified tasks for all 100 cells, it transpired that only 32 were essential to the circuit's operation.’
      • ‘However, on examination it transpired that envelope A did not actually have a window.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It transpired that the cat had gone missing in the night.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
  • 2Botany
    (of a plant or leaf) give off water vapor through the stomata.

    • ‘As the flowers transpire, water evaporates and is trapped at the roof of the bricks.’
    • ‘Leaves in sunny microhabitats transpire more than those in shade microhabitats.’
    • ‘The same cycle was found in plants transpiring in ambient conditions and where transpiration was greatly reduced.’
    • ‘The fourth leaf was allowed to transpire normally, or was wrapped in a transparent plastic bag.’
    • ‘Throughout most of the day, when the plant is transpiring, these vessels will contain water under substantial hydraulic tension.’
    • ‘Mulch also limits frost penetration, enabling the roots of evergreens - whose leaves transpire moisture even in winter - to take up more water.’


The common use of transpire to mean ‘occur, happen’ (I'm going to find out exactly what transpired) is a loose extension of an earlier meaning, ‘come to be known’ (it transpired that Mark had been baptized a Catholic). This loose sense of ‘happen,’ which is now more common in American usage than the sense of ‘come to be known,’ was first recorded in US English toward the end of the 18th century and has been listed in US dictionaries from the 19th century. It is often criticized as jargon, an unnecessarily long word used where occur or happen would do just as well


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘emit as vapor 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’.