happen Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Definition of “happen” - English Dictionary

"happen" in American English

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happenverb [I]

 us   /ˈhæp·ən/
  • happen verb [I] (HAVE EXISTENCE)

(of a ​situation or ​event) to come into ​existence; ​occur: If you ​want to ​know what is happening in the ​world, you have to ​read the ​newspapers. No one ​knowsexactly what happened, but several ​people have been ​hurt. If a ​situation or ​event happens to someone or something, it has an ​effect on that ​person or thing: What happened to Phil? I ​thought he would be here by now.
  • happen verb [I] (CHANCE)

to do or be by ​chance: [+ to infinitive] I happened to come ​across this ​book I ​think you would like. [+ to infinitive] I happen to ​think he’s ​right (= I do, ​althoughothers may not).
(Definition of happen from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)







"happen" in British English

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happenverb [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 ​knowsexactly what happened but several ​people have been ​hurt. Anything could happen in the next ​halfhour. 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, ​becameill, or ​died). What happened to ​yourjacket? There's a ​bigrip in the ​sleeve. What's happened to my ​pen? (= Where is it?) I put it down there a few ​moments ago.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • happen verb [I] (CHANCE)

C1 to do or be by ​chance: [+ to infinitive] They happened tolook (= ​looked by ​chance) in the ​rightplacealmostimmediately. [+ (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 ​phonenumberright here. She happens to like ​cleaning (= she ​likescleaning, ​although that is ​surprising). I happen tothink 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • On Sundays I just ​wear any ​old thing that I happen to ​findlying around.
  • Did she happen to ​mention whether she would be coming?
  • I just happened to be ​walking past when he came out of the ​shop.
  • Jack happens to be a ​cousin of mine, so I'll ​introduce you to him.
  • Do you happen to ​know what ​time the next ​bus is ​due?

happenadverb

uk   us   /ˈhæp.ən/ UK Northern English
(Definition of happen from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"happen" in Business English

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happenverb [I]

uk   us   /ˈhæpən/
to exist or begin to exist because of an ​action, ​situation, or ​event: The one ​course of ​events no one ​anticipated was the one that happened: a ​longperiod of ​stagnation that threatened the assumptions of the ​Europeanwelfarestate. The ​markethighs have ​provided an impetus for ​companies to ​sell their ​shares before ​investorsloseinterest, which often happens during a ​holiday week.
to be done or exist by chance: What happens in one country or ​region may not happen in another.happen by accident/chance "The state's ​economic vitality has not happened by accident," he said.
happen to sb/sth to affect someone or something in a way that ​changes something: Everywhere I go ​people are becoming more and more ​depressed by what is happening to their ​savings.
happen overnight to be done or come into existence suddenly: did not/may not/will not happen overnight This ​crisis didn't happen ​overnight.
(Definition of happen from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“happen” in Business English

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