[ verb trans-pohz; noun trans-pohz ]
See synonyms for: transposetransposed 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.

  1. Algebra. to bring (a term) from one side of an equation to the other, with corresponding change of sign.

  2. Mathematics. (of a matrix) to interchange rows and columns.

  3. Music. to reproduce in a different key, by raising or lowering in pitch.

  4. 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

Other words for transpose

Other words from transpose

  • trans·pos·a·ble, adjective
  • trans·pos·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • trans·pos·er, noun
  • non·trans·pos·a·ble, adjective
  • non·trans·pos·ing, adjective
  • un·trans·posed, adjective

Words Nearby transpose Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use transpose in a sentence

  • She used to give me very little time in which to transpose her songs, and insisted on their being finished when she wanted them.

  • He is a great reader, of course, and can transpose at sight, and all that sort of thing.

British Dictionary definitions for transpose


/ (trænsˈpəʊz) /

  1. (tr) to alter the positions of; interchange, as words in a sentence; put into a different order

  2. music

    • to play (notes, music, etc) in a different key from that originally intended

    • to move (a note or series of notes) upwards or downwards in pitch

  1. (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

Origin of transpose

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

Derived forms of transpose

  • transposable, adjective
  • transposability, noun
  • transposal, noun
  • transposer, noun

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

Scientific definitions for transpose


[ trăns-pōz ]

  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.