happen


happen
happen vb Happen, chance, occur, befall, betide, transpire are comparable when they mean to come to pass or to come about.
Happen is the ordinary and general term and may imply either obvious causation or seeming accident, either design or an absence of design; in its simplest use the term takes the event, situation, or circumstance as its subject
{

the incident happened two weeks ago

}
but it may take the impersonal it or the anticipatory there as its subject
{

it happened that at Dante's time thought was orderly and strong and beautiful— T. S. Eliot

}
{

there happened to be no visitors that day

}
In still other phrases happen may take a person as the subject, especially when the verb im-plies a coming upon someone or something, or a coming into a place more or less casually or accidentally, rather than a coming to pass
{

the miners happened upon a vein of gold

}
{

I go nowhere on purpose: I happen by— Frost

}
{

happened on a cottage almost hidden in elm tree boughs— Times Lit. Sup.

}
{

happened upon a remarkable and neglected volume— Laird

}
{

hoping that no wayfarer would happen along the lane for the next hour or so— Conrad

}
Chance is closer to happen in its idiomatic uses than any of the other words, and it too is found occasionally with the event as the subject; however, it differs from happen in uniformly implying absence of design or apparent lack of causation
{

if a bird's nest chance to be before thee— Deut 22:6

}
{

whenever it chanced that the feelings of people were roused— Kinglake

}
{

things they themselves chance to know— Repplier

}
Occur in distinctive use carries an implication of presenting itself (as to sight, to consciousness, or to one's thoughts); it is, in general, interchangeable with happen only when a definite event or incident or something that actually takes place is the subject
{

the accident happened yesterday

}
{

the bombing raids on the city occurred early in the war

}
{

it is necessary for the physicist to arrange the situation so that phenomena shall occur in which . . . the underlying simplicity will come to light— Darrow

}
Consequently occur is preferable to happen in negative expressions when the idea of presentation in the realm of fact is uppermost
{

a naturalistic optimism which regarded an actual event as ... of superior value to an event which did not occurInge

}
{

this is possible in theory, but, actually, never seemed to occurHeiser

}
This fundamental implication of presentation to sight or mind allows occur, unlike happen, to be used to suggest a coming to one's mind
{

that characters deteriorate in time of need possibly did not occur to Henchard— Hardy

}
or a meeting one's eyes or ears (as in print or speech)
{

the word seldom occurs except in poetry

}
or a turning up or appearing
{

another instance of this disease may not occur for several years

}
{

corundum occurs in crystals, masses, and grains

}
Befall and the less common betide are used in preference to any of the preceding words, especially in poetry or in literary prose, when there is an implication of a superior power determining events or of the lack of human power to foreknow or forestall them
{

anxiety lest mischief should befall her— Wordsworth

}
{

a conscienceless opening of one's hands for all that may betide under benign sun or watchful arrowy moon— Times Lit. Sup.

}
{

the fate which Beria meted out to so many should now have befallen him— Muggeridge

}
Transpire, which basically means to give off or escape in the form of a vapor, retains this notion in much of its extended use, in which it implies a leaking out so as to become known or apparent
{

it soon transpired that there were two . . . conceptions of this problem— Malik

}
{

it had just transpired that he had left gaming debts behind him— Austen

}
but through a semantic shift the term has developed a value, disapproved by some rigorous purists, in which it is inter-changeable with happen or occur
{

I gave an honest account of what transpiredMichener

}
{

all memorable events . . . transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere— Thoreau

}

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Happen — Happen …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • happen — UK US /ˈhæpən/ verb [I] ► to exist or begin to exist because of an action, situation, or event: » The one course of events no one anticipated was the one that happened: a long period of stagnation that threatened the assumptions of the European… …   Financial and business terms

  • happen — [hap′ən] vi. [ME happenen: see HAP1 & EN] 1. to take place; occur; befall 2. to be or occur by chance or without plan [it happened to rain] 3. to have the luck or occasion; chance [I happened to see it] …   English World dictionary

  • Happen — Hap pen (h[a^]p p n), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Happened} ( p nd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Happening}.] [OE. happenen, hapnen. See {Hap} to happen.] 1. To come by chance; to come without previous expectation; to fall out. [1913 Webster] There shall no evil… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • happen — ► VERB 1) take place; occur. 2) come about by chance. 3) (happen on) come across by chance. 4) chance to do something or come about. 5) (happen to) be experienced by. 6) ( …   English terms dictionary

  • happen by — ˈhappen a ˌlong ˈhappen ˌby [intransitive] [present tense I/you/we/they happen along he/she/it happens along …   Useful english dictionary

  • happen on — ˈhappen ˌon ˈhappen u ˌpon [transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they happen on he/she/it happens on present participle happ …   Useful english dictionary

  • happen to sb — happen to sb/sth ► to affect someone or something in a way that changes something: »Everywhere I go people are becoming more and more depressed by what is happening to their savings. Main Entry: ↑happen …   Financial and business terms

  • Happen — Sm std. (18. Jh.) Stammwort. Aus dem Niederdeutschen; ursprünglich eine Lautgebärde wie auch die Interjektion happ(s), also das Erschnappte . Etwas früher bezeugt ist nndl. happen schnappen ; es könnte aber viel älter sein und die Grundlage von… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • happen — index arise (occur), supervene Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary


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