verbtran·spired, tran·spir·ing, tran·spires
- To come about; happen or occur.
- To become known; come to light.
- To give off vapor containing waste products, as through animal or plant pores.
To give off (vapor containing waste products) through the pores of the skin or the stomata of plant tissue.
Origin of transpire
French transpirer from
Medieval Latin trānspīrāre
Latin trāns- trans-
Latin spīrāre to breathe
Usage Note: Transpire has been used since the mid-1700s in the sense “to become publicly known,” as in Despite efforts to hush the matter up, it soon transpired that the colonels had met with the rebel leaders. While this usage has been considered standard for generations, it appears to be on shaky ground and could be headed for obsolescence. In our 2001 survey, 48 percent of the Usage Panel rejected it in the sentence quoted above. It might be better to use a synonym such as become known, leak out, or get around. • The more common use of transpire meaning “to happen or occur” has a more troubled history. Though it dates at least to the beginning of the 1800s, language critics have condemned it for more than one hundred years as both pretentious and unconnected to the word's original meaning, “to give off as vapor.” But there is considerable evidence that resistance to this sense of transpire is weakening. In our 1966 survey, only 38 percent of the Usage Panel found it acceptable; in 1988, 58 percent accepted it in the sentence All of these events transpired after last week's announcement. In 2001, 66 percent accepted the same sentence. Nonetheless, many of the Panelists who accepted the usage also remarked that it was pretentious or pompous. This usage is easily avoided by saying happen, occur, or take place instead.
(third-person singular simple present transpires, present participle transpiring, simple past and past participle transpired)
- To give off (vapour, waste matter etc.); to exhale (an odour etc.). [from 16th c.]
- (botany) Of plants, to give off water and waste products through the stomata. [from 17th c.]
- To become known; to escape from secrecy. [from 18th c.]
- The proceedings of the council soon transpired.
- (loosely) To happen, take place. [from 18th c.]
From the French transpirer, to perspire, from Latin transpirare, to breathe through, from trans, across + spirare, to breathe