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!
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use happen in a sentence
What’s happening now is a public race to secure a handful of votes from the new San Diego City Council members.VOSD Podcast: Why Montgomery Steppe Wants to Be Council President | Nate John | November 20, 2020 | Voice of San Diego
I think that happens from being at a program, being doubted before, being young, with people telling you what you can and can’t do and stuff like that.Wizards’ plan for John Wall involves fewer minutes, more run for Ish Smith, Cassius Winston | Ava Wallace | November 20, 2020 | Washington Post
Because, as Hagon told me, “without those basic things that have to happen at the community level, that have to be designed with and by the community, then you’re not going to save lives.”Natural disasters are increasing. The world’s poorest are left to fend for themselves. | Jariel Arvin | November 20, 2020 | Vox
These past two weeks, we didn’t really know what was going to happen with the game on Saturday.Navy will host Memphis and Tulsa to make up games postponed by coronavirus issues | Kareem Copeland | November 20, 2020 | Washington Post
It can’t decideThe person receiving an alert doesn’t know who they were exposed to, or even when exactly it happened.A covid-fighting tool is buried in your phone. Turn it on. | Geoffrey Fowler | November 20, 2020 | Washington Post
“I think the types of stories we do are very similar to what happened with hip-hop,” says Jones.‘Black Dynamite’ Presents Police Brutality: The Musical | Stereo Williams | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
What happened to true love knows no boundaries and all that?Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic | Samantha Allen | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
As soon as this attack [happened], Paris citizens came together to show were are not afraid, we are Charlie Hebdo.
The St. Thomas gathering happened around 2005, according to Krauss.Sleazy Billionaire’s Double Life Featured Beach Parties With Stephen Hawking | M.L. Nestel | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The big slug happened to hit the suspect in the street, passing through his arm and then striking Police Officer Andrew Dossi.
Strathland would bundle me out in ten minutes if anything happened to Jack.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
I want to see the sort of thing happening to schools that has already happened to many sorts of retail shops.The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
When we came in he looked indisposed and nervous, and there happened to be a good many artists there.Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
He leaped out to see what had happened, and, after a few perplexed and exhausting moments, remembered.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol | William J. Locke
He took mental inventory of his possessions and what he could lay claim to, and he happened to think about his wife's homestead.The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
British Dictionary definitions for happen
(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, that: it happens that I know him
Northern English dialect
another word for perhaps
(as sentence modifier): happen I'll see thee tomorrow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012