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From Middle English transcenden, from Old French transcender, from Latin transcendere (to climb over, step over, surpass, transcend), from trans (over) + scandere (to climb); see scan; compare ascend, descend.


  • IPA(key): /tɹæn(t)ˈsɛnd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


transcend (third-person singular simple present transcends, present participle transcending, simple past and past participle transcended)

  1. (transitive) To pass beyond the limits of something.
    • a. 1627 (date written), Francis [Bacon], “Considerations Touching a VVarre vvith Spaine. []”, in William Rawley, editor, Certaine Miscellany VVorks of the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount S. Alban. [], London: [] I. Hauiland for Humphrey Robinson, [], published 1629, →OCLC:
      such personal popes, emperors, or elective kings, as shall transcend their limits
    • 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, →OCLC, PC, scene: Virmire:
      Shepard: What do you want from us? Slaves? Resources?
      My kind transcends your very understanding. We are each a nation. Independent, free of all weakness. You cannot grasp the nature of our existence.
  2. (transitive) To surpass, as in intensity or power; to excel.
    • c. 1698, John Dryden, Epitaph on the Monument of a Fair Maiden Lady:
      How much her worth transcended all her kind.
  3. (obsolete) To climb; to mount.
    lights in the heavens transcending the region of the clouds


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