Synonyms of happen in English:
2 I wonder what happened to Joe?
literary befall, betide
Choose the right word
happen, befall, occur, transpire
When things happen, they come to pass either for a reason or by chance ( it happened the day after school started; she happened upon the scene of the accident), but the verb is more frequently associated with chance ( it happened to be raining when we got there). Occur can also refer either to something that comes to pass either accidentally or as planned, but it should only be used interchangeably with happen when the subject is a definite or actual event ( the tragedy occurred last winter). Unlike happen, occur also carries the implication of something that presents itself to sight or mind ( it never occurred to me that he was lying). Transpire is a more formal (and some would say undesirable) word meaning to happen or occur, and it conveys the sense that something has leaked out or become known ( he told her exactly what had transpired while she was away). While things that happen, occur, or transpire can be either positive or negative, when something befalls it is usually unpleasant ( he had no inkling of the disaster that would befall him when he got home).