happen to - definition and synonyms

phrasal verb [transitive]
present tense
he/she/ithappens to
present participlehappening to
past tensehappened to
past participlehappened to
  1. 1
    happen to someone if something happens to you, an event or action takes place which affects you

    This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

    1. a.
      happen to something used for talking about the way that something changes or develops

      We don’t understand what is happening to the economy.

  2. 2
    if anything happens to someone used as a way of avoiding talking directly about something bad that might take place

    I’d never forgive myself if anything has happened to her because I didn’t go to meet her.

    If anything happens to me (=if I die), you’ll have plenty of money to live on.

  3. 3
    what (has) happened to something spoken used for asking where something is

    What’s happened to the newspaper that was on the table?

  4. 4
    what/whatever happened to someone used for asking where someone is now and what they are doing

    Whatever happened to your friend George?

  5. 5
    what/whatever happened to something spoken used for asking why something does not happen or exist now

    Whatever happened to the idea of being innocent until proven guilty?

See also main entry: happen