Definition of transpose in English:



  • 1Cause (two or more things) to change places with each other.

    ‘the captions describing the two state flowers were accidentally transposed’
    • ‘These are both simple series with the second two digits transposed (864 has become 846, 246 has become 264).’
    • ‘Same goes for middle initials, alternate spellings, or transposed driver's license numbers.’
    • ‘About ten days later, I got a message from him on my answering machine. ‘They had transposed two of the numbers on your license plate.’’
    • ‘It became an international incident because he transposed two syllables.’
    • ‘So this would suggest that Mr. Senior Administration Official simply transposed the sequence of events, intentionally or unintentionally.’
    • ‘When I tracked down Robyn's correct number to call her, I found that I had accidentally transposed the last two digits.’
    • ‘When the order of the strategies was transposed, the participant structure changed to the extent that there was a sharing of the process of making sense of the text.’
    • ‘Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was originally named Ysidro Francis Edgeworth but transposed his forenames.’
    • ‘And each and every time, I've mistyped it - I keep transposing the B and M. It's bugging the hell out of me.’
    • ‘I then point out that if he actually dials the right number instead of transposing the last 2 digits to end in 67 as opposed to 76 he might be more successful.’
    • ‘What has happened is that the two have been transposed.’
    • ‘That is why dyslexics tend to reverse the order of letter features, thus confusing d with b and p with q, and to transpose the order of letters within words.’
    • ‘There are, however, other families of ciphers which are based on the idea of transposing the order in which the letters are written.’
    • ‘Suppose two adjacent digits, cd, are transposed to dc.’
    • ‘I, or someone, transposed the numbers - it should be 86th Street.’
    • ‘The error was a result of human error and was a result of the two addresses being transposed on the agency's database.’
    • ‘The disputed bill had transposed the two, with the result that it was overcharging you.’
    • ‘How often have you been typing something, and you accidentally transposed two different letters?’
    interchange, exchange, switch, transfer, reverse, invert, rearrange, reorder, turn about, turn around, substitute, trade, alter, convert
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  • 2Transfer to a different place or context.

    ‘the problems of civilization are transposed into a rustic setting’
    • ‘The Community adopts a legislative act (a directive) which is subsequently transposed by the member states into their own legal order, and implemented by the national administrations.’
    • ‘To be sure, the church transposed the key of the Ten Commandments in terms of the Christ event.’
    • ‘However, given low levels of union representation, directly transposing such an approach to the French context could prove more problematic.’
    • ‘This paragraph, apart from the final eight words, is transposed from a corresponding paragraph in the Annex to the Directive.’
    • ‘Hence the bizarre fact that, in the classic 1931 film, Shelley's early-nineteenth-century tale is transposed into an alien, early-twentieth-century setting.’
    • ‘We transport ourselves out of the 21st century back to the ancient world of the text or, conversely, we transpose ancient voices into contemporary voices of authority.’
    • ‘Now try transposing seven work mates from London to Amsterdam overnight.’
    • ‘But transposing such a large number of the cars from their natural Soviet habitat to Middleton's bucolic surroundings has stoked up resentment in the village.’
    • ‘He is, in fact, a Brer Bear figure transposed to the human sphere, overly confident in his own power and position, and insufficiently alert to the world's hazards.’
    • ‘Again, the harsh conditions under which Shostakovich was compelled to represent himself are often found transposed to the prosaic sphere of paranoid nostalgia.’
    • ‘It embraced the themes of freedom and individuality and transposed them onto an urban, man-made context.’
    • ‘Instead of searching for a modern definition of culture, Nietzsche transposes an archaic ideal of culture (modeled after the stratified society of ancient Greece) onto modern society.’
    • ‘Their notion of identity means transposing the values of their own culture to here because they are afraid of integration and assimilation.’
    • ‘The challenge remains, however, to transpose stories composed within an ancient context so that they are relevant in a modern one.’
    • ‘Of course, Durkheim did not directly transpose this rather slighting view of economic pursuits from the context of preliterate, tribal existence to that of more advanced societies.’
    • ‘All we can do is to underline the unsafe nature of the book and the perils of transferring or transposing its teachings to our postcolonial context without first thoroughly scrutinizing it.’
    • ‘Lacan took up or rather transposed Freud's definition of hypnosis on this second degree level of dialectical reflection between the reciprocally engaged egos and ego ideals.’
    • ‘Basil artfully transposes this tale into a Christian religious and ethical context.’
    • ‘Simply transposing the frames of reference that emerge in one society to the same debate elsewhere can lead to serious misunderstandings.’
    shift, relocate, reposition, transplant, move, displace
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    1. 2.1Write or play (music) in a different key from the original.
      ‘the basses are transposed down an octave’
      • ‘Eventually, students transpose their keyboard harmony pieces and make variations based on the themes.’
      • ‘Furthermore, this alteration makes bar 33 exactly the same as bar 32, transposed down a tone, and thus there is a perfect sequential relationship between the two bars.’
      • ‘I haven't checked to see if any part has been transposed down, but it's immaterial, because one can take a 10-minute rest, then ‘splice in’ the most strenuous phrase.’
      • ‘She was a willing collaborator, transposing a few songs to better fit the voices being used in the production.’
      • ‘The confusion results when students try to transpose other instruments, rendering them as they would sound at the piano.’
      • ‘Once I've sampled it I can transpose it over six octaves, so if you write a whole melody with that one note going up and down the scale you get this amazing texture.’
      • ‘She advised organists to transpose their accompaniments to a more accommodating key.’
      • ‘It is then transposed upwards by stages, eventually reaching F-D again at the climax in bar 35.’
      • ‘All the parts except the bass trombone are written in treble clef and transposed to make it easy for players to change from one instrument to another.’
      • ‘The transition material is transposed intact down a fifth and leads to the tonic major for the remainder of this complete return.’
      • ‘Not only was his acting nuanced and committed, but his vocal command of the notes, some admittedly transposed down for comfort, was also complete.’
      • ‘The authors indicate that certain exercises in this book are to be transposed to other keys.’
      • ‘Carter transposed the song onto a different key and played around with it a bit.’
      • ‘It was probably done when the RCM parts were transposed down a fifth from the pitch still reproduced in the Durham organ part.’
      • ‘Michael interpolates his repertoire, transposing any tune without difficulty in the smoothest of transitions.’
      • ‘Have the student try playing this, and other familiar tunes, and then transposing each to a different key.’
      • ‘Traditionally a British brass instrument, she has had to learn how to transpose music for the horn, expanding her musical knowledge beyond what she may have anticipated.’
    2. 2.2Mathematics Transfer (a term), with its sign changed, to the other side of an equation.
      • ‘On the other hand, if adjacent digits and are transposed, the transposition will go undetected when multiplied by the difference between their weights is a multiple of.’


  • A matrix obtained from a given matrix by interchanging each row and the corresponding column.

    • ‘The superscript denotes the transpose of a vector or a matrix.’
    • ‘A' is the transpose matrix of A, in which rows of A are changed into columns of A'.’
    • ‘To obtain the transpose of a matrix, the rows of the matrix become the columns and vice versa.’
    • ‘There are seven independent, real parameters in general, which are further reduced to five in OCT as a result of the transpose symmetry of a Jones matrix.’


Late Middle English (also in the sense transform, convert): from Old French transposer, from trans- across + poser to place.