Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

happen - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [intransitive] happen pronunciation in American English /ˈhæpən/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlehappening
past tensehappened
past participlehappened
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. to take place, usually without being planned
    The accident happened at about 4:30 p.m. yesterday.
    The family was on vacation when the tragedy happened.
    He seemed to be unaware of what was happening around him.
    What happens if I press this button?
    see what happens: Let’s just wait and see what happens.



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


a stupid person

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog