verb (transpired; transpiring) Etymology: Middle French transpirer, from Medieval Latin transpirare, from Latin trans- + spirare to breathe Date: 1597 transitive verb to pass off or give passage to (a fluid) through pores or interstices; especially to excrete (as water) in the form of a vapor through a living membrane (as the skin) intransitive verb 1. to give off vaporous material; specifically to give off or exude watery vapor especially from the surfaces of leaves 2. to pass in the form of a vapor from a living body 3. a. to be revealed ; come to light b. to become known or apparent ; develop 4. to take place ; go on, occur Usage: Sense 4 of transpire is the frequent whipping boy of those who suppose sense 3 to be the only meaning of the word. Sense 4 appears to have developed in the late 18th century; it was well enough known to have been used by Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband in 1775 <
there is nothing new transpired since I wrote you last — Abigail Adams
. Noah Webster recognized the new sense in his dictionary of 1828. Transpire was evidently a popular word with 19th century journalists; sense 4 turns up in such pretentiously worded statements as “The police drill will transpire under shelter to-day in consequence of the moist atmosphere prevailing.” Around 1870 the sense began to be attacked as a misuse on the grounds of etymology, and modern critics echo the damnation of 1870. Sense 4 has been in existence for about two centuries; it is firmly established as standard; it occurs now primarily in serious prose, not the ostentatiously flamboyant prose typical of 19th century journalism.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • transpire — [v1] occur, happen arise, befall, betide, chance, come about, come to pass, develop, ensue, eventuate, fall out*, gel, go, result, shake, take place, turn up; concept 3 transpire [v2] become known be disclosed, be discovered, be made public,… …   New thesaurus

  • Transpire — Tran*spire , v. t. 1. (Physiol.) To excrete through the skin; to give off in the form of vapor; to exhale; to perspire. [1913 Webster] 2. (Bot.) To evaporate (moisture) from living cells. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Transpire — Tran*spire , v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Transpired}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Transpiring}.] [F. transpirer; L. trans across, through + spirare to breathe. See {Spirit}.] 1. (Physiol.) To pass off in the form of vapor or insensible perspiration; to exhale.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transpire — index arise (occur), ensue, occur (happen), pass (advance) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • transpiré — transpiré, ée (tran spi ré, rée) part. passé de transpirer. Exhalé par transpiration. •   Des sucs gommeux ou résineux, transpirés par les feuilles, BONNET Lett. div. Oeuv. t. XII, p. 436, dans POUGENS. •   La quantité d eau aspirée et transpirée …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • transpire — 1590s, pass off in the form of a vapor or liquid, from M.Fr. transpirer (mid 16c.), from L. trans through (see TRANS (Cf. trans )) + spirare to breathe (see SPIRIT (Cf. spirit)). Figurative sense of leak out, become known is recorded from 1741,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • transpire — *happen, occur, chance, befall, betide …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • transpire — The origin of the word is in the Latin verb spirare ‘to breathe’, and in its primary physical sense meant ‘to give off vapour’ or ‘to perspire’ (a meaning still used in the physical sciences). In the 18c it developed two abstract meanings, both… …   Modern English usage

  • transpire — ► VERB 1) come to be known; prove to be so. 2) happen. 3) Botany (of a plant or leaf) give off water vapour through the stomata. DERIVATIVES transpiration noun. ORIGIN Latin transpirare, from spirare breathe …   English terms dictionary

  • transpire — [tran spīr′] vt. transpired, transpiring [Fr transpirer < ML transpirare < L trans , TRANS + spirare, to breathe: see SPIRIT] to cause (vapor, moisture, etc.) to pass through tissue or other permeable substances, esp. through the pores of… …   English World dictionary

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