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v. hap·pened, hap·pen·ing, hap·pens
a. To come to pass: Where did the accident happen?
b. To come about as a consequence; result: Trouble always seems to happen when he's around.
c. To be the fate; become: What will happen to the business when the owner retires?
2. To encounter something by chance: I happened upon an interesting article in the newspaper.
3. To come or go casually; make an appearance: My friend happened by around dinnertime.
1. Used with the impersonal subject it and a following clause or infinitive to indicate the occurrence of a usually unexpected or chance event: It happened that I was in the shower when you called. It happened to snow on the night she was born.
2. To have the fortune (to be or do something); be in a situation or position (to be or do something): The bus station happens to be close to the museum. I happen to know the answer to that question.
3. Used with an infinitive to make polite requests: Do you happen to know the time?

[Middle English happenen, from hap, chance; see hap.]
Synonyms: happen, befall, betide, chance, occur
These verbs mean to come about: saw an awful thing happen; predicted that misery will befall humankind; woe that betides the poor soldier; former friends who chanced to meet again; described the accident exactly as it occurred.


1. (intr) (of an event in time) to come about or take place; occur
2. (foll by: to) (of some unforeseen circumstance or event, esp death), to fall to the lot (of); be a source of good or bad fortune (to): if anything happens to me, it'll be your fault.
3. (tr) to chance (to be or do something): I happen to know him.
4. (tr; takes a clause as object) to be the case, esp if by chance, that: it happens that I know him.
adv, sentence substitute
a. another word for perhaps
b. (as sentence modifier): happen I'll see thee tomorrow.
[C14: see hap1, -en1]
Usage: See at occur


(ˈhæp ən)

1. to take place; come to pass; occur.
2. to come to pass by chance; occur without apparent reason or design.
3. to have the fortune or lot (to do or be as specified); chance: I happened to see him on the street.
4. to befall, as to a person or thing: Don't worry; nothing happened to her.
5. to meet or discover by chance (usu. fol. by on or upon): to happen on a clue to a mystery.
6. to be, come, go, etc., casually or by chance: My friend happened along.
7. Slang. to be very exciting or interesting: That party was happening!
[1300–50; Middle English hap(pe)nen. See hap1, -en1]


- Fairly new to English, from hap, "chance, luck," which was borrowed from Old Norse happ.
See also related terms for luck.


1. 'happen'

When something happens, it takes place without being planned.

Then a strange thing happened.
There'll be an investigation into what happened and why.

Be Careful!
Happen does not have a passive form. Don't say, for example, 'Then a strange thing was happened'.

2. 'take place', 'occur'

Happen is usually used after vague words like something, thing, what, or this. After words with a more precise meaning, you usually use take place or occur.

The incident had taken place many years ago.
Mrs Brogan was in the house when the explosion occurred.

Don't say that a planned event 'happens'. Say that it takes place.

The first meeting of the committee took place on 9 January.
The election will take place in June.
3. 'happen to'

When something happens to someone or something, it takes place and affects them.

I wonder what 's happened to Jeremy?
If anything happens to the car, you'll have to pay for it.

In sentences like these, don't use any preposition except to after happen.

You use happen in front of a to-infinitive to show that something happens or exists by chance. For example, instead of saying 'The two people he wanted to speak to lived in the same street', you can say 'The two people he wanted to speak to happened to live in the same street'.

I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you happen to see Jane, ask her to call me.

You often use happen to be in sentences beginning with there. For example, instead of saying 'A post office happened to be in the next street', you say 'There happened to be a post office in the next street'.

There happened to be a policeman on the corner, so I asked him the way.

Be Careful!
In sentences like these you must use there. Don't say, for example, 'Happened to be a post office in the next street'.


Past participle: happened
Gerund: happening

I happen
you happen
he/she/it happens
we happen
you happen
they happen
I happened
you happened
he/she/it happened
we happened
you happened
they happened
Present Continuous
I am happening
you are happening
he/she/it is happening
we are happening
you are happening
they are happening
Present Perfect
I have happened
you have happened
he/she/it has happened
we have happened
you have happened
they have happened
Past Continuous
I was happening
you were happening
he/she/it was happening
we were happening
you were happening
they were happening
Past Perfect
I had happened
you had happened
he/she/it had happened
we had happened
you had happened
they had happened
I will happen
you will happen
he/she/it will happen
we will happen
you will happen
they will happen
Future Perfect
I will have happened
you will have happened
he/she/it will have happened
we will have happened
you will have happened
they will have happened
Future Continuous
I will be happening
you will be happening
he/she/it will be happening
we will be happening
you will be happening
they will be happening
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been happening
you have been happening
he/she/it has been happening
we have been happening
you have been happening
they have been happening
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been happening
you will have been happening
he/she/it will have been happening
we will have been happening
you will have been happening
they will have been happening
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been happening
you had been happening
he/she/it had been happening
we had been happening
you had been happening
they had been happening
I would happen
you would happen
he/she/it would happen
we would happen
you would happen
they would happen
Past Conditional
I would have happened
you would have happened
he/she/it would have happened
we would have happened
you would have happened
they would have happened
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.happen - come to pass; "What is happening?"; "The meeting took place off without an incidence"; "Nothing occurred that seemed important"
recrudesce, develop, break - happen; "Report the news as it develops"; "These political movements recrudesce from time to time"
come up, arise - result or issue; "A slight unpleasantness arose from this discussion"
result - come about or follow as a consequence; "nothing will result from this meeting"
intervene - occur between other event or between certain points of time; "the war intervened between the birth of her two children"
transpire - come about, happen, or occur; "Several important events transpired last week"
give - occur; "what gives?"
operate - happen; "What is going on in the minds of the people?"
supervene - take place as an additional or unexpected development
proceed, go - follow a certain course; "The inauguration went well"; "how did your interview go?"
come - come to pass; arrive, as in due course; "The first success came three days later"; "It came as a shock"; "Dawn comes early in June"
fall - occur at a specified time or place; "Christmas falls on a Monday this year"; "The accent falls on the first syllable"
anticipate - be a forerunner of or occur earlier than; "This composition anticipates Impressionism"
develop - be gradually disclosed or unfolded; become manifest; "The plot developed slowly";
recur, repeat - happen or occur again; "This is a recurring story"
come off, go over, go off - happen in a particular manner; "how did your talk go over?"
roll around, come around - happen regularly; "Christmas rolled around again"
materialise, materialize, happen - come into being; become reality; "Her dream really materialized"
bechance, befall, happen - happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance; "It happens that today is my birthday"; "These things befell" (Santayana)
bechance, befall, betide - become of; happen to; "He promised that no harm would befall her"; "What has become of my children?"
coincide, concur - happen simultaneously; "The two events coincided"
backfire, backlash, recoil - come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect; "Your comments may backfire and cause you a lot of trouble"
chance - be the case by chance; "I chanced to meet my old friend in the street"
break - happen or take place; "Things have been breaking pretty well for us in the past few months"
fall, shine, strike - touch or seem as if touching visually or audibly; "Light fell on her face"; "The sun shone on the fields"; "The light struck the golden necklace"; "A strange sound struck my ears"
turn out - prove to be in the result or end; "It turns out that he was right"
contemporise, contemporize, synchronise, synchronize - happen at the same time
2.happen - happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance; "It happens that today is my birthday"; "These things befell" (Santayana)
hap, happen, occur, come about, take place, go on, pass off, fall out, pass - come to pass; "What is happening?"; "The meeting took place off without an incidence"; "Nothing occurred that seemed important"
happen - chance to be or do something, without intention or causation; "I happen to have just what you need!"
3.happen - chance to be or do something, without intention or causation; "I happen to have just what you need!"
bechance, befall, happen - happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance; "It happens that today is my birthday"; "These things befell" (Santayana)
chance - be the case by chance; "I chanced to meet my old friend in the street"
4.happen - come into beinghappen - come into being; become reality; "Her dream really materialized"
hap, happen, occur, come about, take place, go on, pass off, fall out, pass - come to pass; "What is happening?"; "The meeting took place off without an incidence"; "Nothing occurred that seemed important"
come out, appear - be issued or published; "Did your latest book appear yet?"; "The new Woody Allen film hasn't come out yet"
5.happen - come upon, as if by accident; meet with; "We find this idea in Plato"; "I happened upon the most wonderful bakery not very far from here"; "She chanced upon an interesting book in the bookstore the other day"


1. occur, take place, come about, follow, result, appear, develop, arise, come off (informal), ensue, crop up (informal), transpire (informal), materialize, present itself, come to pass, see the light of day, eventuate We cannot say for sure what will happen.
2. chance, turn out (informal), have the fortune to be I looked in the nearest paper, which happened to be the Daily Mail.
3. befall, overtake, become of, betide It's the best thing that ever happened to me.
happen on or upon something find, encounter, run into, come upon, turn up, stumble on, hit upon, chance upon, light upon, blunder on, discover unexpectedly He just happened upon a charming guest house.


2. To take place by chance:
phrasal verb
happen on or upon
To find or meet by chance:
bump into, chance on (or upon), come across, come on (or upon), find, light on (or upon), run across, run into, stumble on (or upon), tumble on.
Archaic: alight on (or upon).
Idiom: meet up with.
يَحْدُثيَحْدُثُيَحْدُثُ بالصُّدْفَهيَحْدُثُ لِ
stát seukázat senáhodounáhodou se státpřihodit se
پیشامد کردن
dogoditi se
gerast, eiga sér staî; verakoma fyrir, hendavilja til, rekast á
atsitiktinai būtiatsitiktinai ką padarytiatsitiktinai užeitiatsitiktinai užtiktiįvykti
izrādīties, gadītiesnejauši gadītiesnotikt
náhodou nájsť
pripetiti sezgoditi se
olmaktesadüfen olmakyer bulmakbaşına gelmek
xảy ra


[ˈhæpən] VI
1. (= occur) → pasar, ocurrir, suceder
what's happening?¿qué pasa or ocurre or sucede?
how did it happen?¿cómo pasó or ocurrió or sucedió?, ¿cómo fue?
these things happenestas cosas pasan, son cosas que pasan
when did the accident happen?¿cuándo ocurrió or sucedió el accidente?
whatever happenspase lo que pase
don't let it happen againque no vuelva a ocurrir
as if nothing had happenedcomo si nada, como si tal cosa
how does it happen that ...?¿cómo es posible que ...? + subjun
what has happened to him? (= befall) → ¿qué le ha pasado?; (= become of) → ¿qué ha sido de él?
it's the best thing that ever happened to mees lo mejor que me ha pasado en la vida
if anything should happen to himsi le pasara algo ...
it's all happening hereaquí es donde está la movida or marcha
see also accident
2. (= chance) it happened that I was out that daydio la casualidad de que or resulta que aquel día estuve fuera
it might happen that no one turns uppuede ocurrir que no venga nadie
if you happen to see John, let him knowsi acaso vieras a John or si da la casualidad de que ves a John, díselo
I happen to know thatda la casualidad de que sé que ...
he just happens to be here nowda la casualidad de que está aquí ahora
if anyone should happen to see yousi acaso alguien te viera
would you happen to have a pen?¿no tendrá un bolígrafo por casualidad?
it happens to be trueda la casualidad de que es verdad
as it happens ...,; it (just) so happens thatda la casualidad de que ...
I do know him, as it happenspues da la casualidad de que sí le conozco
happen along VI + ADVaparecer
who should happen along but Sheilaquién dirías que apareció, pues Sheila
happen on happen upon VI + PREP [+ thing] → dar con, encontrar; [+ person] → tropezar con, encontrarse con
we happened (up)on this gem of a hotel in Irelanddimos con or encontramos un hotel magnífico en Irlanda
to happen (up)on the solutiondar con or encontrar la solución


[ˈhæpən] vi (= occur) → arriver, se passer
Tell me what happened → Dis-moi ce qui s'est passé.
what's happening? → qu'est-ce qui se passe?, que se passe-t-il?
what's happened? → qu'est-ce qui s'est passé?, que s'est-il passé?
what will happen if ...? → qu'est-ce qui se passera si ...?, que se passera-t-il si ...?
nothing happened → il ne s'est rien passé
whatever happens → quoi qu'il arrive
to happen again
It won't happen again → Cela ne se reproduira plus.
to have happened before
I have seen this happen before → Ça s'est déjà produit auparavant.
these things happen → ça arrive
accidents will happen, accidents happen → on ne peut pas tout prévoir
see also accident
(= befall) to happen to sb/sth
If anything happened to him → S'il lui arrivait quoi que ce soit ...
If anything happens to my sister → S'il arrive quoi que ce soit à ma sœur ...
If anything happens to the car → S'il arrive quoi que ce soit à la voiture ...
It's the best thing that ever happened to me → C'est la meilleure chose qui me soit jamais arrivée.
what happened to you? → qu'est-ce qui t'es arrivé?, que t'est-il arrivé?
what has happened to him? (= become of) → qu'est-ce qu'il est devenu?, qu'est-il devenu? (= occur to) → qu'est-ce qui lui est arrivé?, que lui est-il arrivé?
it couldn't happen to a nicer person → il le mérite bien (or elle le mérite bien or tu le mérites bien)
(by chance) to happen to do sth
I happened to bump into him in a shop → Il se trouve que l'ai rencontré dans un magasin.
She happened to be free that afternoon → Il se trouva qu'elle était libre cet après-midi-là.
If you happen to see Jane, ask her to phone me → Si jamais tu vois Jane, demande-lui de me téléphoner.
Do you happen to know the name of her secretary? → Connaîtriez-vous par hasard le nom de sa secrétaire?
You don't happen to know the postal code for Swindon? → Tu ne saurais pas, par hasard, le code postal de Swindon?
I happen to know he's lying → Je sais qu'en fait il ment.
as it happens → justement
As it happens, I don't want to go → Justement, je ne veux pas y aller.
happen on
happen upon vt fus (= come across by chance) → tomber sur


(= occur)geschehen; (somewhat special or important event)sich ereignen; (esp unexpected, unintentional or unpleasant event)passieren, geschehen; (process also)vor sich gehen, geschehen; it happened like this …es geschah or war so …; nothing ever happens herehier ereignet sich or geschieht or passiert (doch) überhaupt nie etwas; this interview/conversation never happeneddieses Interview/Gespräch hat nicht stattgefunden; it’s all happening here todayheute ist hier ganz schön was los (inf); what’s happening?was läuft? (inf), → was ist los?; you can’t just let things happendu kannst die Dinge nicht einfach laufen lassen; it’s broken, how did it happen?es ist kaputt, wie ist denn das passiert?; it just happenedes ist (ganz) von allein passiert or gekommen; as if nothing had happenedals ob nichts geschehen or gewesen wäre; worse things have happenedes ist schon Schlimmeres passiert or vorgekommen; don’t let it happen againdass das nicht noch mal vorkommt or passiert!; these things happenso was kommt (schon mal) vor; what has happened to him?was ist ihm passiert or geschehen?; (= what have they done to him)was ist mit ihm passiert?; (= what’s wrong with him)was ist mit ihm los?; (= what has become of him)was ist aus ihm geworden?; what’s happened to your leg?was ist mit deinem Bein los or passiert?; if anything should happen to mewenn mir etwas zustoßen or passieren sollte; you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to medu bist der größte Glücksfall in meinem Leben; it all happened so quicklyes ging alles so schnell
(= chance) how does it happen that …? (cause) → wie kommt es, dass …?; (possibility) → wie ist es möglich, dass …?; it might happen that you will be asked such a questiones könnte passieren or sein, dass Ihnen solch eine Frage gestellt wird; to happen to do somethingzufällig(erweise) etw tun; we happened to discover we had a friend in commonwir stellten durch Zufall fest, dass wir einen gemeinsamen Bekannten hatten; do you happen to know whether …?wissen Sie vielleicht or zufällig, ob …?; I happen to know it’s trueich weiß zufällig(erweise), dass es stimmt; I just happened to come along when …ich kam zufällig (gerade) vorbei, als …; he happened to see me just as I …muss er mich doch gerade in dem Augenblick sehen, als ich …; I picked up the nearest paper, which happened to be the Daily Mailich nahm die erstbeste Zeitung zur Hand, es war zufällig die Daily Mail; it so happens or as it happens I (don’t) like that kind of thingso etwas mag ich nun einmal (nicht); as it happens I’ve been there too/I’m going there todayzufällig(erweise) bin ich auch dort gewesen/gehe ich heute (dort)hin; you don’t want to come, do you? — it so happens, I dodu möchtest doch sicher nicht kommen, oder? — doch, natürlich


adv (N Engl inf: = perhaps) → vielleicht


[ˈhæpn] vi
a.succedere, accadere, capitare
what's happening? → cosa succede?, cosa sta succedendo?
these things will happen → sono cose che capitano or succedono
don't let it happen again → che non si ripeta or succeda mai più
as if nothing had happened → come se niente fosse
what has happened to him? (befallen) → cosa gli è successo? (become of) → che fine ha fatto?
if anything should happen to him ... → se gli dovesse accadere qualcosa...
b. (chance) it happened that ...si dava il caso che...
do you happen to know if ... → sai per caso se...
if anyone should happen to see John → se a qualcuno capita di vedere John
I happen to know that ... → si dà il caso che io sappia che...
she happened to be free → per caso era libera
as it happens → (per) combinazione
it so happened that ... → guarda caso...
happen (up)on vi + prepimbattersi in


(ˈhӕpən) verb
1. to take place or occur; to occur by chance. What happened next?; It just so happens / As it happens, I have the key in my pocket.
2. (usually with to) to be done to (a person, thing etc). She's late – something must have happened to her.
3. to do or be by chance. I happened to find him; He happens to be my friend.
ˈhappening noun
an occurrence. strange happenings.
happen (up)on
to find by chance. He happened upon the perfect solution to the problem just as he was about to give up his research.


يَحْدُثُ stát se ske geschehen συμβαίνω ocurrir tapahtua se passer dogoditi se accadere 起こる 일어나다 gebeuren hende zdarzyć się acontecer случаться hända เกิดขึ้น olmak xảy ra 发生


vi. suceder, acontecer, ocurrir.
References in classic literature ?
It is, moreover, evident from what has been said, that it is not the function of the poet to relate what has happened, but what may happen,-- what is possible according to the law of probability or necessity.
Besides, those who contrive this plan of community cannot easily avoid the following evils; namely, blows, murders involuntary or voluntary, quarrels, and reproaches, all which it would be impious indeed to be guilty of towards our fathers and mothers, or those who are nearly related to us; though not to those who are not connected to us by any tie of affinity: and certainly these mischiefs must necessarily happen oftener amongst those who do not know how they are connected to each other than those who do; and when they do happen, if it is among the first of these, they admit of a legal expiation, but amongst the latter that cannot be done.
If this event is to cause another event, the two will have to be contiguous in time; for if there is any interval between them, something may happen during that interval to prevent the expected effect.
"But come," I imagine some reader complaining, "isn't it high time for something to happen?" No doubt it is, but what am I to do?
"Well, thank you so much," she repeated, "How quickly these accidents do happen, and then one returns to the old life!"
I beg you, Natalie," Prince Andrew said with sudden seriousness- "I am going away and heaven knows what may happen. You may cease to...
There was never any telling what might happen, for with live things events were somehow always happening differently.
I suppose Dinah'll be sending me on messages next!' And she began fancying the sort of thing that would happen: `"Miss Alice!
They slept in twelve beds all in one room; and when they went to bed, the doors were shut and locked up; but every morning their shoes were found to be quite worn through as if they had been danced in all night; and yet nobody could find out how it happened, or where they had been.
They wrote many letters asking if the Historian did not know of some adventures to write about that had happened before the Land of Oz was shut out from all the rest of the world.
Wherein the history goes back to commemorate a trifling incident that happened some years since; but which, trifling as it was, had some future consequences.
It happened in the early morning-- I should think about six.