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[tran-sit, -zit] /ˈtræn sɪt, -zɪt/
the act or fact of passing across or through; passage from one place to another.
conveyance or transportation from one place to another, as of persons or goods, especially, local public transportation:
city transit.
Compare mass transit.
a transition or change.
  1. the passage of a heavenly body across the meridian of a given location or through the field of a telescope.
  2. the passage of Mercury or Venus across the disk of the sun, or of a satellite or its shadow across the face of its primary.
  3. meridian circle.
Astrology. the passage of a planet in aspect to another planet or a specific point in a horoscope.
  1. Also called transit instrument. an instrument, as a theodolite, having a telescope that can be transited, used for measuring horizontal and sometimes vertical angles.
  2. a repeating transit theodolite.
(initial capital letter) U.S. Aerospace. one of a series of satellites for providing positional data to ships and aircraft.
verb (used with object), transited, transiting.
to pass across or through.
Surveying. to turn (the telescope of a transit) in a vertical plane in order to reverse direction; plunge.
Astronomy. to cross (a meridian, celestial body, etc.).
verb (used without object), transited, transiting.
to pass over or through something; make a transit.
Astronomy. to make a transit across a meridian, celestial body, etc.
Origin of transit
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (noun and v.) < Latin trānsitus a going across, passage, equivalent to trānsi-, variant stem of trānsīre to cross (trāns- trans- + -īre to go) + -tus suffix of v. action

sic transit gloria mundi

[seek trahn-sit gloh-ri-ah moo n-dee; English sik tran-sit glawr-ee-uh muhn-dahy, -dee, glohr-, -zit] /sik ˈtrɑn sɪt ˈgloʊ rɪˌɑ ˈmʊn di; English sɪk ˈtræn sɪt ˈglɔr i ə ˈmʌn daɪ, -di, ˈgloʊr-, -zɪt/
thus passes away the glory of this world. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for transit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A noon-mark may easily be made by the aid of the transit instrument.

    Letters on Astronomy Denison Olmsted
  • That meant that the news was important, for such means of transit were expensive.

    Murder Point Coningsby Dawson
  • Newspapers forwarded by Cunard Steamer are liable on delivery to one penny each, being the American transit rate.

  • My passenger had been making remarks in transit, but I paid no attention to them.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The amount of wear and tear, the expenditure of vital force, involved in the transit from infancy to manhood cannot be estimated.

British Dictionary definitions for transit


/ˈtrænsɪt; ˈtrænz-/
  1. the passage or conveyance of goods or people
  2. (as modifier): a transit visa
a change or transition
a route
  1. the passage of a celestial body or satellite across the face of a relatively larger body as seen from the earth
  2. the apparent passage of a celestial body across the meridian, caused by the earth's diurnal rotation
(astrology) the passage of a planet across some special point on the zodiac
in transit, while being conveyed; during passage
to make a transit through or over (something)
(astronomy) to make a transit across (a celestial body or the meridian)
to cause (the telescope of a surveying instrument) to turn over or (of such a telescope) to be turned over in a vertical plane so that it points in the opposite direction
Derived Forms
transitable, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin transitus a going over, from transīre to pass over; see transient

sic transit gloria mundi

/ˈsɪk ˈtrænsɪt ˈɡlɔːrɪˌɑː ˈmʊndiː/
thus passes the glory of the world
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 transit

"act or fact of passing across or through," mid-15c., from Latin transitus, past participle of transire "go or cross over" (see transient). Meaning "public transporation" is attested from 1873.


mid-15c., from Latin transitus, past participle of transire "go or cross over" (see transient). Related: Transited; transiting.

sic transit gloria mundi

c.1600, Latin, literally "thus passes the glory of the world;" perhaps an alteration of a passage in Thomas Á Kempis' "Imitatio Christi" (1471).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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transit in Science
  1. The passage of a smaller celestial body or its shadow across the disk of a larger celestial body. As observed from Earth, Mercury and Venus are the only planets of the solar system that make transits of the Sun, because they are the only planets with orbits that lie between Earth and the Sun. Mercury makes an average of 13 transits of the Sun each century. Transits of Venus across the Sun are much rarer, with only 7 of them having occurred between 1639 and 2004. In contrast, transits of Jupiter's moons across its disk are common occurrences. Compare occultation.

  2. The passage of a celestial body across the celestial meridian (the great circle on the celestial sphere passing through the celestial poles and an observer's zenith). For any observer, the object is at its highest in the sky at its transit of the observer's meridian. See more at celestial meridian.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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transit in Culture
Sic transit gloria mundi [(sik tran-sit glawr-ee-uh moon-dee)]

Latin for “Thus passes away the glory of the world”; worldly things do not last.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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transit in Technology

A subsystem of ICES.
[Sammet 1969, p.616].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with transit

sic transit gloria mundi

Nothing on earth is permanent, as in His first three novels were bestsellers and now he can't even find an agent—sic transit gloria mundi. This expression, Latin for “Thus passes the glory of the world,” has been used in English since about 1600, and is familiar enough so that it is sometimes abbreviated to sic transit.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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