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happen

[hap-uh n] /ˈhæp ən/
verb (used without object)
1.
to take place; come to pass; occur:
Something interesting is always happening in New York.
2.
to come to pass by chance; occur without apparent reason or design:
Don't ask me what caused it—it just happened, that's all.
3.
to have the fortune or lot (to do or be as specified); chance:
I happened to see him on the street.
4.
to befall, as to a person or thing:
Something dreadful has happened to me.
5.
to meet or discover by chance (usually followed by on or upon):
to happen on a clue to a mystery.
6.
to be, come, go, etc., casually or by chance:
My friend happened along.
7.
Slang. to be very exciting or interesting:
That party was happening!
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English hap(pe)nen. See hap1, -en1
Synonyms
1. betide. Happen, chance, occur refer to the taking place of an event. Happen, which originally denoted the taking place by hap or chance, is now the most general word for coming to pass: Something has happened. Chance suggests the accidental nature of an event: It chanced to rain that day. Occur is often interchangeable with happen, but is more formal, and is usually more specific as to time and event: His death occurred the following year.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for happen
  • Healthy living doesn't happen at the doctor's office.
  • It will happen so fast that it will be impossible to keep up with its repair.
  • How you invest your money depends on what you think is going to happen to the global economy.
  • We were trying to make it work, every day, but it would not happen for us.
  • But this will all happen somewhere else, to some other guy, sometime in the future.
  • Great dishes are often born of memory and whatever ingredients happen to be on hand.
  • Doubling a genome does not in itself create diversity: the burst of new species did not happen when bony fish first evolved.
  • The earthquake that did not happen is still forming, but is now considered unlikely to happen for another century or two.
  • But sudden, dramatic climate changes have struck many times in the past, and they could happen again.
  • But, according to quantum mechanics, things can happen occasionally.
British Dictionary definitions for happen

happen

/ˈhæpən/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of an event in time) to come about or take place; occur
2.
(intransitive) foll by to. (of some unforeseen circumstance or event, esp death), to fall to the lot (of); be a source of good or bad fortune (to): if anything happens to me, it'll be your fault
3.
(transitive) to chance (to be or do something): I happen to know him
4.
(transitive; takes a clause as object) to be the case, esp if by chance, that: it happens that I know him
adverb, sentence substitute
5.
(Northern English, dialect)
  1. another word for perhaps
  2. (as sentence modifier): happen I'll see thee tomorrow
Word Origin
C14: see hap1, -en1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for happen
v.

c.1300, "to come to pass, occur," originally "occur by hap, to have the (good or bad) fortune (to do, be, etc.);" see hap (n.). Replaced Old English gelimpan, gesceon, and Middle English befall. In Middle English fel it hap meant "it happened." Related: Happened; happening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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