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 looked on with suspicion: (1) ‘to leak out, to become known’, usually with an impersonal it as subject

• (It transpired later that the social workers were all under instruction to have identification —R. Black, 1992

• The couple, it transpires, have quietly been buying art for a decade —Arts & Book Review, 2007)

and (2) ‘to happen, to occur’

• (What actually transpired upon the outbreak of the Civil War is lost in the mists of time —E. G. Holland, 1986

• It is imperative now…that Tony Blair comes clean with the British public as to what transpired during the course of those 10 days —Guardian Unlimited, 2005 [OEC])

a sense that probably arose from a misunderstanding of the previous one. In the course of time the first of these meanings has become accepted, but the second, despite its closeness in some contexts, is still widely disfavoured (in the 19c the American writer Richard Grant White went so far as to describe it as a ‘monstrous perversion’) and it should not be used except informally.

Modern English usage. 2014.


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 — ► 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

  • transpire — 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;… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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