something that happens; occurrence; event.
an unconventional dramatic or artistically orchestrated performance, often a series of discontinuous events involving audience participation.
any event considered worthwhile, unusual, or interesting.

Origin of happening

1545–55; 1965–70 for def 2; happen + -ing1

Synonyms for happening

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for happenings

Contemporary Examples of happenings

  • The stage manager is a rubber-clad domme and there are various S&M happenings through the night.

  • “Many view the straw poll as almost tangential to all the happenings of CPAC,” said Republican political consultant Brian Donahue.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Right Invades Washington

    Samuel P. Jacobs, Shushannah Walshe

    February 8, 2011

  • Deyn and Byrne say they hope to expand NAAG to include reviews of happenings in other countries.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Agyness Deyn's New Passion

    D.M. Levine

    November 22, 2010

Historical Examples of happenings

  • He sees the happenings in the household, but sees them in a light of his own.

  • Certainly, some happenings in this world of ours did not seem quite fair.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The happenings of the next few minutes were noisy and profane.

    Thankful's Inheritance

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • He seemed to be in a sort of waking dream and only dimly conscious of happenings about him.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "There is undoubtedly some connection between the two happenings," said Jeter.

British Dictionary definitions for happenings



an occurrence; event
an improvised or spontaneous display or performance consisting of bizarre and haphazard events


informal fashionable and up-to-the-minute
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

Word Origin and History for happenings



mid-15c., "chance, luck," from present participle of happen; meaning "occurrence" is 1550s. Sense of "spontaneous event or display" is from 1959 in the argot of artists. Happenings "events" was noted by Fowler as a vogue word from c.1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper