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Happen appears in the following tongue twisters:

  • In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly ever happen.
    (from My Fair Lady the musical based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion)
  • As I was in Arkansas I saw a saw that could out saw any saw I ever saw saw. If you happen to be in Arkansas and see a saw that can out saw the saw I saw saw I'd like to see the saw you saw saw.

Happen is sometimes a misspelling of happened.

The word happen is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the verb happen

What does happen mean as a doing word?

Happen is one of the top 100 most common verbs in the English language.View more statistics!

verb - inflections: happened | happening | happens

  1. come to pass
  2. happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance
  3. chance to be or do something, without intention or causation
    • example: I happen to have just what you need!
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • more generic word: chance = be the case by chance
  4. come into being; become reality
  5. come upon, as if by accident; meet with
    • example: I happened upon the most wonderful bakery not very far from here
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonyms of happen: bump / chance / encounter / find

Alternative definition of the verb happen


  1. To occur or take place.
  2. To occur unexpectedly, by chance or with a low probability.
  3. [context: followed by [term, on] or [term, upon]] To encounter by chance.

Phrases with Happen

Phrases starting with the word Happen:

  1. Happen'd
  2. happen upon
  3. happen along

Phrases ending with the word Happen:

  1. Accident Waiting to Happen
  2. Disaster Waiting to Happen

Other phrase containing the word Happen:

  1. Couldn't Happen to a Nicer

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Happen

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewAccidence Will Happen: A Reformed Pedant's Guide to English Language and Style (2016)

by Oliver Kamm

'Accidence Will Happen is a unique and indispensable guide to usage.

' Steven Pinker 'Accidence Will Happen is an immensely intelligent and playful polemic, cheeky and erudite by turns.

Google previewDictionary of Phrasal Verbs

by Najmussehar

to make something more attractive or pleasant return something to cause to happen; make something happen to bring someone or something to certain place; help someone improve persuade or convince someone; bring something with ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Happen

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Usage statistics about happen

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb happen:

spoken English66.09%written English33.91% conversational speech34.22%task-oriented speech65.78% imaginative writing69.53%informational writing30.47%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb happen:


Photos about Happen

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If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Bad things or emergency situation can happen everywhere, hurry up to get some rescue, trolley wheels with Foot Brake on white floor tile in hospitalSmall photo of 3rd degree skin burn on the legs caused by an exploded boat engine happen on an Amazon tributary in BrazilSmall photo of Motivational and inspirational quotes - I believe that amazing things will happen. With vintage styled background.Small photo of Success and motivation concept,Motivational quote, Make things happenSmall photo of Make Things Happen message with pink roses and heartsSmall photo of Don't be afraid of change. It's going to happen anyway. Handwriting on a napkin with a cup of espresso coffeeSmall photo of Make Things Happen message with blue heart cushions coming out of a coffee cup More...

Video language resources about Happen

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View more videos about Anything Can Happen, Accident Waiting to Happen, and Disaster Waiting to Happen.

See also the pronunciation examples of Happen!

Sign language

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Quotes about Happen

Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life. (Epictetus)
more quotes about happen...

Scrabble value of H4A1P3P3E1N1

The value of this 6-letter word is 13 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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