adjective ephem·er·al \i-ˈfem-rəl, -ˈfēm-; -ˈfe-mə-, -ˈfē-\

: lasting a very short time

Full Definition of EPHEMERAL

:  lasting one day only <an ephemeral fever>
:  lasting a very short time <ephemeral pleasures>
ephem·er·al·ly \-rə-lē\ adverb

Examples of EPHEMERAL

  1. <the autumnal blaze of colors is always to be treasured, all the more so because it is so ephemeral>
  2. … 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


Greek ephēmeros lasting a day, daily, from epi- + hēmera day
First Known Use: 1576

Synonym Discussion of EPHEMERAL

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>.


noun ephem·er·al \i-ˈfem-rəl, -ˈfēm-; -ˈfe-mə-, -ˈfē-\

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


(see 1ephemeral)
First Known Use: 1807

Other Botany Terms

annual, burgeon, chloroplast, nomenclature, succulent, sylvan, xylem
Medical Dictionary


adjective ephem·er·al \i-ˈfem(-ə)-rəl, -ˈfēm-\

Medical Definition of EPHEMERAL

:  lasting a very short time


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