happen - definition in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online (US)

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “happen”

See all translations

happen

verb [I] uk   us   /ˈhæp.ən/

happen verb [I] (HAVE EXISTENCE)

A2 (of a situation or an event) to have existence or come into existence: No one knows exactly what happened but several people have been hurt. Anything could happen in the next half hour. A funny thing happened in the office today. I don't want to think about what might have happened if he'd been driving any faster.happen to sb A2 If something happens to someone or something, it has an effect on him, her, or it: I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to him (= if he was hurt, became ill, or died). What happened to your jacket? There's a big rip in the sleeve. What's happened to my pen? (= Where is it?) I put it down there a few moments ago.
More examples

happen verb [I] (CHANCE)

C1 to do or be by chance: [+ to infinitive] They happened to look (= looked by chance) in the right place almost immediately. [+ (that)] Fortunately it happened (that) there was no one in the house at the time of the explosion. [+ that] It just so happens that I have her phone number right here. She happens to like cleaning (= she likes cleaning, although that is surprising). I happen to think he's right (= I do think so, although you do not). As it happened (= although it was not planned), I had a few minutes to spare.
More examples

happen

adverb uk   us   /ˈhæp.ən/ UK Northern English
perhaps: Happen it'll rain later on.
(Definition of happen from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of happen?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “happen” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

cost/charge the earth

to cost, charge, etc. a lot of money

Word of the Day

The language of elections

by Liz Walter,
April 22, 2015
On May 7th, citizens of the UK will be going to the polls (having an election) to decide who will form the next government. This kind of election is known as a general election. The country is divided into 650 areas, called constituencies. Each constituency elects a member of parliament (MP) to

Read More 

dumbwalking noun

April 20, 2015
walking slowly, without paying attention to the world around you because you are consulting a smartphone He told me dumbwalking probably wouldn’t be a long-term problem.

Read More