from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme.
  • adj. Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception: "fails to achieve a transcendent significance in suffering and squalor” ( National Review).
  • adj. Philosophy Transcending the Aristotelian categories.
  • adj. Philosophy In Kant's theory of knowledge, being beyond the limits of experience and hence unknowable.
  • adj. Being above and independent of the material universe. Used of the Deity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. surpassing usual limits
  • adj. beyond the range of usual perception
  • adj. free from constraints of the material world
  • n. That which surpasses or is supereminent; something excellent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Very excellent; superior or supreme in excellence; surpassing others.
  • adj. Transcending, or reaching beyond, the limits of human knowledge; -- applied to affirmations and speculations concerning what lies beyond the reach of the human intellect.
  • n. That which surpasses or is supereminent; that which is very excellent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In mathematics, indefinable by any combination of a finite number of equations with rational integral coefficients.
  • Surpassing; excelling; superior or supreme; extraordinary: as, transcendent worth.
  • In scholastic philos., not included under one of the ten categories; higher than the categories.
  • In Kantian philosophy, transcending experience; unrealizable in experience; not an object of possible experience.
  • Transcending the universe of matter; not essentially connected with the universe; not cosmic: as, a transcendent deity.
  • SynonymsPreëminent, surpassing, supereminent, unequaled, unparalleled, unrivaled, peerless.
  • n. That which surpasses or excels; anything greatly superior or supereminent.
  • n. In metaphysics: A reality above the categories or predicaments.
  • n. That which is altogether beyond the bounds of human cognition and thought. Compare I., 3.
  • n. In mathematics, a transcendental expression or function.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. exceeding or surpassing usual limits especially in excellence
  • adj. beyond and outside the ordinary range of human experience or understanding


transcend +‎ -ent (Wiktionary)


  • Also talking about what he thinks is his best quality, which is his leadership, his experience on national security, and what he calls the transcendent issue that e wants voters to look to him for, and that is the war in Iraq and national security.

    CNN Transcript Feb 3, 2008

  • Foley is what I refer to as a transcendent performer.

  • And the trouble with modern man is that having given up the belief in transcendent things, he still has inside of himself a sense of transcendent obligations.

    Fairness and Justice « Unknowing

  • We are proud that a plant native to our country is transcendent from a commercial point of view.

    The poinsettia, Mexico's Christmas gift to the world

  • GERGEN: My sense is that we're talking here with Iran about the nuclear proliferation issue, which is a transcendent issue, long-term transcendent issue.

    CNN Transcript Aug 1, 2008

  • GERGEN: My sense is we're talking here about Iran, about the nuclear proliferation issue, which is a transcendent issue, long-term transcendent issue.

    CNN Transcript Aug 1, 2008

  • GERGEN: My sense is we're talking here about Iran, about the nuclear proliferation issue which is transcendent issue; long-term transcendent issue.

    CNN Transcript Feb 11, 2008

  • Plotinus calls the transcendent source of reality by the traditional names of the One and the Good, though he is well aware that these names, like all others, are inadequate.


  • Though he is not consistent in the use of the terms transcendent and transcendental, Kant understands by transcendent what lies beyond the limits of experience, and by transcendental he understands the non-empirical or a priori elements in our knowledge, which do not come from experience but are nevertheless, legitimately applied to the data or contents of knowledge furnished by experience.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • The terms transcendent and transcendental are used in various senses, all of which, as a rule, have antithetical reference in some way to experience or the empirical order.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner


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