Simple Definition of ephemeral
: lasting a very short time
Full Definition of ephemeral
1 : lasting one day only <an ephemeral fever>
2 : lasting a very short time <ephemeral pleasures>
Examples of ephemeral in a sentence
… several rather inflated pages of material about an ephemeral love affair Fitzgerald allegedly had with an English woman named Bijou … —Joyce Carol Oates, Times Literary Supplement, 5 Jan. 1996
As a consequence North Africa was easily reconquered by the Byzantine emperor in the 530s, and the Vandals' influence on North African development was ephemeral and negligible. —Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, 1993
This accounts for the peculiar sense most observers have that the ephemeral, sensationalist, polymorphous, magpie popular culture of the United States is at bottom remarkably conservative … —Louis Menand, Harper's, March 1993
<the autumnal blaze of colors is always to be treasured, all the more so because it is so ephemeral>
Did You Know?
The mayfly (order Ephemeroptera) typically hatches, matures, mates, and dies within the span of a few short hours (though the longest-lived species may survive a record two days); poets sometimes use this insect to symbolize life's ephemeral nature. When "ephemeral" (from the Greek word ephēmeros, meaning "lasting a day") first appeared in print in English in the late 16th century, it was a scientific term applied to short-term fevers, and later, to organisms (such as insects and flowers) with very short life spans. Soon after that, it acquired an extended sense referring to anything fleeting and short-lived (as in "ephemeral pleasures").
Origin of ephemeral
Greek ephēmeros lasting a day, daily, from epi- + hēmera day
First Known Use: 1576
Synonym Discussion of ephemeral
Definition of ephemeral
: something that lasts for a very short time : something ephemeral; specifically : a plant that grows, flowers, and dies in a few days
Origin of ephemeral
First Known Use: 1807
Learn More about ephemeral
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for "ephemeral" Medical Dictionary: Definition of "ephemeral" Spanish Central: Translation of "ephemeral" Nglish: Translation of "ephemeral" for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of "ephemeral" for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about "ephemeral"
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