[trans-gres, tranz-]

verb (used without object)

to violate a law, command, moral code, etc.; offend; sin.

verb (used with object)

to pass over or go beyond (a limit, boundary, etc.): to transgress bounds of prudence.
to go beyond the limits imposed by (a law, command, etc.); violate; infringe: to transgress the will of God.

Origin of transgress

1520–30; < Latin trānsgressus (past participle of trānsgredī to step across), equivalent to trāns- trans- + -gred- (combining form of gradī to step; see grade) + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > ss
Related formstrans·gres·sive, adjectivetrans·gres·sive·ly, adverbtrans·gres·sor, nounnon·trans·gres·sive, adjectivenon·trans·gres·sive·ly, adverbun·trans·gressed, adjective

Synonyms for transgress

Antonyms for transgress

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

Examples from the Web for transgressive

Contemporary Examples of transgressive

Historical Examples of transgressive

  • If then selection does not bring about transgressive variation in a general population, how can selection produce anything new?

  • It is obvious all through that transgressive growth is the starting-point in the formation of new individuals.

    The Wonders of Life

    Ernst Haeckel

  • When this limit has been passed, the transgressive growth takes the form of reproduction.

    The Wonders of Life

    Ernst Haeckel

British Dictionary definitions for transgressive



going beyond acceptable boundaries of taste, convention, or the lawtransgressive art; transgressive pursuits
Derived Formstransgressively, adverb



to break (a law, rule, etc)
to go beyond or overstep (a limit)
Derived Formstransgressor, noun

Word Origin for transgress

C16: from Latin transgredī, from trans- + gradī to step
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 transgressive

1640s, from transgress + -ive.



late 15c., from Middle French transgresser (14c.), from Latin transgressus, past participle of transgredi "to step across" (see transgression). Related: Transgressed; transgressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper