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[tran-zish-uh n, -sish-] /trænˈzɪʃ ən, -ˈsɪʃ-/
movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change:
the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
  1. a passing from one key to another; modulation.
  2. a brief modulation; a modulation used in passing.
  3. a sudden, unprepared modulation.
a passage from one scene to another by sound effects, music, etc., as in a television program, theatrical production, or the like.
verb (used without object)
to make a transition:
He had difficulty transitioning from enlisted man to officer.
Origin of transition
1545-55; < Latin trānsitiōn- (stem of trānsitiō) a going across, equivalent to trānsit(us) (past participle of transīre to cross; cf. transit) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
transitional, transitionary
[tran-zish-uh-ner-ee, -sish-] /trænˈzɪʃ əˌnɛr i, -ˈsɪʃ-/ (Show IPA),
transitionally, adverb
nontransitional, adjective
nontransitionally, adverb
untransitional, adjective
untransitionally, adverb
1. changeover, passing, conversion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for transitional
  • It is lined by stratified squamous epithelium, which becomes transitional near the bladder.
  • Perhaps this suggests a hybrid, transitional solution.
  • The transitional view is based on a historical perspective of current species' characteristics.
  • The points made are about as devoid of meaningful substance as the fossil record is of transitional fossils.
  • Some elements of this thinking are probably transitional and others are deeply rooted.
  • PC manufacturers are currently mired in a transitional period, but so far we're not seeing any super-innovative products.
  • In any case, the movement is likely to be a major player in any transitional government.
  • It is obvious that the establishment of the ghetto is only a transitional step.
  • The old interwar national state based on territory and political sovereignty looks to be a mere transitional development.
  • The transitional government is unlikely to take forceful measures in the run-up to the election.
British Dictionary definitions for transitional


change or passage from one state or stage to another
the period of time during which something changes from one state or stage to another
  1. a movement from one key to another; modulation
  2. a linking passage between two divisions in a composition; bridge
Also called transitional. a style of architecture that was used in western Europe in the late 11th and early 12th century, characterized by late Romanesque forms combined with early Gothic details
  1. any change that results in a change of physical properties of a substance or system, such as a change of phase or molecular structure
  2. a change in the configuration of an atomic nucleus, involving either a change in energy level resulting from the emission of a gamma-ray photon or a transformation to another element or isotope
a sentence, passage, etc, that connects a topic to one that follows or that links sections of a written work
Derived Forms
transitional, (rare) transitionary, adjective
transitionally, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin transitio; see transient
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for transitional



1550s, from Latin transitionem (nominative transitio) "a going across or over," noun of action from past participle stem of transire "go or cross over" (see transient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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