adjective tran·si·to·ry \ˈtran(t)-sə-ˌtr-ē, ˈtran-zə-\

: lasting only for a short time

Full Definition of TRANSITORY

:  tending to pass away :  not persistent
:  of brief duration :  temporary <the transitory nature of earthly joy>
tran·si·to·ri·ly \ˌtran(t)-sə-ˈtr-ə-lē, ˌtran-zə-\ adverb
tran·si·to·ri·ness \ˈtran(t)-sə-ˌtr-ē-nəs, ˈtran-zə-\ noun


Middle English transitorie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin transitorius, from Latin, of or allowing passage, from transire
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of TRANSITORY

transient, transitory, ephemeral, momentary, fugitive, fleeting, evanescent mean lasting or staying only a short time. transient applies to what is actually short in its duration or stay <a hotel catering primarily to transient guests>. transitory applies to what is by its nature or essence bound to change, pass, or come to an end <fame in the movies is transitory>. ephemeral implies striking brevity of life or duration <many slang words are ephemeral>. momentary suggests coming and going quickly and therefore being merely a brief interruption of a more enduring state <my feelings of guilt were only momentary>. fugitive and fleeting imply passing so quickly as to make apprehending difficult <let a fugitive smile flit across his face> <fleeting moments of joy>. evanescent suggests a quick vanishing and an airy or fragile quality <the story has an evanescent touch of whimsy that is lost in translation>.


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