Meaning of transpose in English:


Pronunciation /trɑːnˈspəʊz/

See synonyms for transpose

Translate transpose into Spanish


[with object]
  • 1Cause (two or more things) to exchange places.

    ‘the situation might have been the same if the parties in opposition and government had been transposed’
    • ‘When I tracked down Robyn's correct number to call her, I found that I had accidentally transposed the last two digits.’
    • ‘About ten days later, I got a message from him on my answering machine. ‘They had transposed two of the numbers on your license plate.’’
    • ‘How often have you been typing something, and you accidentally transposed two different letters?’
    • ‘It became an international incident because he transposed two syllables.’
    • ‘The error was a result of human error and was a result of the two addresses being transposed on the agency's database.’
    • ‘The disputed bill had transposed the two, with the result that it was overcharging you.’
    • ‘I then point out that if he actually dials the right number instead of transposing the last 2 digits to end in 67 as opposed to 76 he might be more successful.’
    • ‘And each and every time, I've mistyped it - I keep transposing the B and M. It's bugging the hell out of me.’
    • ‘So this would suggest that Mr. Senior Administration Official simply transposed the sequence of events, intentionally or unintentionally.’
    • ‘I, or someone, transposed the numbers - it should be 86th Street.’
    • ‘What has happened is that the two have been transposed.’
    • ‘These are both simple series with the second two digits transposed (864 has become 846, 246 has become 264).’
    • ‘Same goes for middle initials, alternate spellings, or transposed driver's license numbers.’
    • ‘Suppose two adjacent digits, cd, are transposed to dc.’
    • ‘Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was originally named Ysidro Francis Edgeworth but transposed his forenames.’
    • ‘That is why dyslexics tend to reverse the order of letter features, thus confusing d with b and p with q, and to transpose the order of letters within words.’
    • ‘There are, however, other families of ciphers which are based on the idea of transposing the order in which the letters are written.’
    • ‘When the order of the strategies was transposed, the participant structure changed to the extent that there was a sharing of the process of making sense of the text.’
    interchange, exchange, switch, swap, swap round, transfer, reverse, invert, rearrange, reorder, turn about, turn around, change, change round, move, move around, substitute, trade, alter, convert
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  • 2Transfer to a different place or context.

    ‘an evacuation order transposed the school from Kent to Shropshire’
    • ‘the themes are transposed from the sphere of love to that of work’
    • ‘It embraced the themes of freedom and individuality and transposed them onto an urban, man-made context.’
    • ‘Of course, Durkheim did not directly transpose this rather slighting view of economic pursuits from the context of preliterate, tribal existence to that of more advanced societies.’
    • ‘The challenge remains, however, to transpose stories composed within an ancient context so that they are relevant in a modern one.’
    • ‘However, given low levels of union representation, directly transposing such an approach to the French context could prove more problematic.’
    • ‘All we can do is to underline the unsafe nature of the book and the perils of transferring or transposing its teachings to our postcolonial context without first thoroughly scrutinizing it.’
    • ‘The Community adopts a legislative act (a directive) which is subsequently transposed by the member states into their own legal order, and implemented by the national administrations.’
    • ‘Again, the harsh conditions under which Shostakovich was compelled to represent himself are often found transposed to the prosaic sphere of paranoid nostalgia.’
    • ‘Basil artfully transposes this tale into a Christian religious and ethical context.’
    • ‘He is, in fact, a Brer Bear figure transposed to the human sphere, overly confident in his own power and position, and insufficiently alert to the world's hazards.’
    • ‘Hence the bizarre fact that, in the classic 1931 film, Shelley's early-nineteenth-century tale is transposed into an alien, early-twentieth-century setting.’
    • ‘This paragraph, apart from the final eight words, is transposed from a corresponding paragraph in the Annex to the Directive.’
    • ‘Lacan took up or rather transposed Freud's definition of hypnosis on this second degree level of dialectical reflection between the reciprocally engaged egos and ego ideals.’
    • ‘Simply transposing the frames of reference that emerge in one society to the same debate elsewhere can lead to serious misunderstandings.’
    • ‘Instead of searching for a modern definition of culture, Nietzsche transposes an archaic ideal of culture (modeled after the stratified society of ancient Greece) onto modern society.’
    • ‘To be sure, the church transposed the key of the Ten Commandments in terms of the Christ event.’
    • ‘We transport ourselves out of the 21st century back to the ancient world of the text or, conversely, we transpose ancient voices into contemporary voices of authority.’
    • ‘But transposing such a large number of the cars from their natural Soviet habitat to Middleton's bucolic surroundings has stoked up resentment in the village.’
    • ‘Their notion of identity means transposing the values of their own culture to here because they are afraid of integration and assimilation.’
    • ‘Now try transposing seven work mates from London to Amsterdam overnight.’
    shift, relocate, reposition, transplant, move, displace
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    1. 2.1Write or play (music) in a different key or register from the original.
      ‘the basses are transposed down an octave’
      • ‘Traditionally a British brass instrument, she has had to learn how to transpose music for the horn, expanding her musical knowledge beyond what she may have anticipated.’
      • ‘It was probably done when the RCM parts were transposed down a fifth from the pitch still reproduced in the Durham organ part.’
      • ‘I haven't checked to see if any part has been transposed down, but it's immaterial, because one can take a 10-minute rest, then ‘splice in’ the most strenuous phrase.’
      • ‘All the parts except the bass trombone are written in treble clef and transposed to make it easy for players to change from one instrument to another.’
      • ‘Furthermore, this alteration makes bar 33 exactly the same as bar 32, transposed down a tone, and thus there is a perfect sequential relationship between the two bars.’
      • ‘Not only was his acting nuanced and committed, but his vocal command of the notes, some admittedly transposed down for comfort, was also complete.’
      • ‘Have the student try playing this, and other familiar tunes, and then transposing each to a different key.’
      • ‘Eventually, students transpose their keyboard harmony pieces and make variations based on the themes.’
      • ‘She was a willing collaborator, transposing a few songs to better fit the voices being used in the production.’
      • ‘She advised organists to transpose their accompaniments to a more accommodating key.’
      • ‘The transition material is transposed intact down a fifth and leads to the tonic major for the remainder of this complete return.’
      • ‘It is then transposed upwards by stages, eventually reaching F-D again at the climax in bar 35.’
      • ‘The authors indicate that certain exercises in this book are to be transposed to other keys.’
      • ‘The confusion results when students try to transpose other instruments, rendering them as they would sound at the piano.’
      • ‘Michael interpolates his repertoire, transposing any tune without difficulty in the smoothest of transitions.’
      • ‘Once I've sampled it I can transpose it over six octaves, so if you write a whole melody with that one note going up and down the scale you get this amazing texture.’
      • ‘Carter transposed the song onto a different key and played around with it a bit.’
    2. 2.2Mathematics Transfer (a term), with its sign changed, to the other side of an equation.
      • ‘On the other hand, if adjacent digits and are transposed, the transposition will go undetected when multiplied by the difference between their weights is a multiple of.’
    3. 2.3Translate into another language.
      ‘a sequence of French tales transposed into English’
      • ‘And it cannot be transposed into another language.’
      • ‘Just transpose the language into a different context and we're hearing a whole new set of meanings.’
      • ‘Beyond simply transposing the text into English, the translator and the company dedicated a lot of time to discussing the context of the script with the author.’
      • ‘And then, transposing them into that strange translated-from-Yiddish idiom.’


  • A matrix obtained from a given matrix by interchanging each row and the corresponding column.

    ‘the new matrix is called the transpose of A’
    • ‘The superscript denotes the transpose of a vector or a matrix.’
    • ‘To obtain the transpose of a matrix, the rows of the matrix become the columns and vice versa.’
    • ‘A' is the transpose matrix of A, in which rows of A are changed into columns of A'.’
    • ‘There are seven independent, real parameters in general, which are further reduced to five in OCT as a result of the transpose symmetry of a Jones matrix.’


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘transform, convert’): from Old French transposer, from trans- ‘across’ + poser ‘to place’.