verb (used without object)
- to take place; come to pass; occur: Something interesting is always happening in New York.
- to come to pass by chance; occur without apparent reason or design: Don’t ask me what caused it—it just happened, that’s all.
- to have the fortune or lot (to do or be as specified); chance: I happened to see him on the street.
- to befall, as to a person or thing: Something dreadful has happened to me.
- to meet or discover by chance (usually followed by on or upon): to happen on a clue to a mystery.
- to be, come, go, etc., casually or by chance: My friend happened along.
- Slang. to be very exciting or interesting: That party was happening!
- (intr, preposition) to find by chanceI happened upon a five-pound note lying in the street
- (intr) (of an event in time) to come about or take place; occur
- (intr 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
- (tr) to chance (to be or do something)I happen to know him
- (tr; takes a clause as object) to be the case, esp if by chance, thatit happens that I know him
adverb, sentence substitute
- Northern English dialect
- another word for perhaps
- (as sentence modifier)happen I’ll see thee tomorrow
c.1300, “to come to pass, occur,” originally “occur by hap, to have the (good or bad) fortune (to do, be, etc.);” see hap (n.). Replaced Old English gelimpan, gesceon, and Middle English befall. In Middle English fel it hap meant “it happened.” Related: Happened; happening.