[verb trans-pohz; noun trans-pohz]
See more synonyms for transpose on
verb (used with object), trans·posed, trans·pos·ing.
  1. to change the relative position, order, or sequence of; cause to change places; interchange: to transpose the third and fourth letters of a word.
  2. to transfer or transport.
  3. Algebra. to bring (a term) from one side of an equation to the other, with corresponding change of sign.
  4. Mathematics. (of a matrix) to interchange rows and columns.
  5. Music. to reproduce in a different key, by raising or lowering in pitch.
  6. to transform; transmute.
verb (used without object), trans·posed, trans·pos·ing.
  1. to perform a piece of music in a key other than the one in which it is written: to transpose at sight.
  1. Mathematics. a matrix formed from a given matrix by transposing.

Origin of transpose

1350–1400; Middle English transposen to transmute < Middle French transposer. See trans-, pose1
Related formstrans·pos·a·ble, adjectivetrans·pos·a·bil·i·ty, nountrans·pos·er, nounnon·trans·pos·a·ble, adjectivenon·trans·pos·ing, adjectiveun·trans·posed, adjective

Synonyms for transpose

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1, 5. rearrange. 3. invert. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for transpose

Contemporary Examples of transpose

Historical Examples of transpose

  • Transpose it into platinum or uranium—anything good and heavy.

    The Galaxy Primes

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • See whether you can transpose these suggestions into the terms of your problem.

  • Substitute Roman figures for the Arabic numerals, and transpose the letters.

  • But I can transpose to any of the copies of my portrait, anywhere.

    The Gallery

    Roger Phillips Graham

  • To transpose a quantity from one side of an equation to another is to place it across.


    Elmer W. Cavins

British Dictionary definitions for transpose


  1. (tr) to alter the positions of; interchange, as words in a sentence; put into a different order
  2. music
    1. to play (notes, music, etc) in a different key from that originally intended
    2. to move (a note or series of notes) upwards or downwards in pitch
  3. (tr) maths to move (a term) from one side of an equation to the other with a corresponding reversal in sign
  1. maths the matrix resulting from interchanging the rows and columns of a given matrix
Derived Formstransposable, adjectivetransposability, nountransposal, nountransposer, noun

Word Origin for transpose

C14: from Old French transposer, from Latin transpōnere to remove, from trans- + pōnere to place
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 transpose

late 14c., from Old French transposer (14c.), from Latin transponere (past participle transpositus) "to place over," from trans- "over" (see trans-) + ponere "to put, place" (see position). Form altered in French on model of poser "to put, place." Sense of "put music in a different key" is from c.1600. Related: Transposed; transposing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

transpose in Medicine


  1. To transfer one tissue, organ, or part to the place of another.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

transpose in Science


  1. To move a term or quantity from one side of an algebraic equation to the other by adding or subtracting that term to or from both sides. By subtracting 2 from both sides of the equation 2 + x = 4, one can transpose the 2 to the other side, yielding x = 4 - 2, and thus determine that x equals 2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.