Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Origin: hap ( HAPPY)

happen

verb
     
hap‧pen S1 W1 [intransitive]
1 when something happens, there is an event, especially one that is not planned [= occur]:
When did the accident happen?
It's impossible to predict what will happen next.
something/nothing/anything happens
Something terrible has happened.
She carried on as if nothing had happened.
This was bound to happen sooner or later.
This kind of thing happens all the time.
We'll still be friends, whatever happens.
2

something/anything/what happens to somebody/something

if something happens to someone or something, they are affected by an event:
He should be here by now - something must have happened to him.
The same thing happened to me last year.
What's happened to your coat? It's all ripped.
3

happen to do something

if you happen to do something, you do it by chance:
I happened to see James in town.
4

somebody/something happens to be something

used when telling someone something in an angry way:
This happens to be my house!
5

as it happens/it just so happens

used to tell someone something that is surprising, interesting, or useful:
As it happens, I know someone who might be able to help.
6

these things happen

used to tell someone not to worry about a mistake they have made, an accident they have caused etc:
It's not your fault - these things happen.
7

whatever happened to somebody/something?

used to ask where a person or thing is now:
Whatever happened to Steve? I haven't seen him for years.

➔ accidents (will) happen

at accident (5)

happen on/upon somebody/something

phrasal verb
to find something or meet someone by chance:
I happened on the restaurant by chance.

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