A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tran-spahyuh r] /trænˈspaɪər/
verb (used without object), transpired, transpiring.
to occur; happen; take place.
to emit or give off waste matter, watery vapor, etc., through the surface, as of the body or of leaves.
to escape, as moisture or odor, through or as if through pores.
to be revealed or become known.
verb (used with object), transpired, transpiring.
to emit or give off (waste matter, watery vapor, an odor, etc.) through the surface, as of the body or of leaves.
1590-1600; < Middle French transpirer < Medieval Latin trānspīrāre, equivalent to Latin trāns- trans- + spīrāre to breathe
Related forms
transpirable, adjective
[tran-spahyr-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /trænˈspaɪr əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
untranspired, adjective
untranspiring, adjective
Can be confused
Usage note
1. From its earlier literal sense “to escape as vapor” transpire came to mean “to escape from concealment, become known” in the 18th century. Somewhat later, it developed the meaning “to occur, happen,” a sentence such as He was not aware of what had transpired yesterday being taken to mean He was not aware of what had happened yesterday. In spite of two centuries of use in all varieties of speech and writing, this now common meaning is still objected to by some on the grounds that it arose from a misapprehension of the word's true meaning. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for transpired
  • Precisely how this transpired has been the subject of vigorous debate for centuries.
  • Details of what transpired are vague-the principals aren't talking, and no cameras were present.
  • Emotional events are stored in our memory in more detail and therefore seem to have transpired over a longer period.
  • In neither case has anything resembling a tragedy transpired.
  • Everyone--and no one--was to blame for what transpired.
  • Then followed inquiries and replies as to who were sold, who remained, and what transpired at the sale.
  • The difference, researchers believe, was the five decades of global warming that had transpired.
  • But stranger things have probably transpired in the quest for the ideal lawn.
  • To see what transpired, you need to look at the data.
  • It then transpired that the lover of lamp-posts had applied to be a teacher in a primary school.
British Dictionary definitions for transpired


(intransitive) to come to light; be known
(intransitive) (informal) to happen or occur
(physiol) to give off or exhale (water or vapour) through the skin, a mucous membrane, etc
(of plants) to lose (water in the form of water vapour), esp through the stomata of the leaves
Derived Forms
transpirable, adjective
transpiration (ˌtrænspəˈreɪʃən) noun
transpiratory, adjective
Usage note
It is often maintained that transpire should not be used to mean happen or occur, as in the event transpired late in the evening, and that the word is properly used to mean become known, as in it transpired later that the thief had been caught. The word is, however, widely used in the former sense, esp in spoken English
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin transpīrāre, from Latin trans- + spīrāre to breathe
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 transpired



1590s, "pass off in the form of a vapor or liquid," from Middle French transpirer (mid-16c.), from Latin trans- "through" (see trans-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit). Figurative sense of "leak out, become known" is recorded from 1741, and the erroneous meaning "take place, happen" is almost as old, being first recorded 1755. Related: Transpired; transpiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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