adjective \ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt; ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtran(t)-sē-; ˈtran-zhənt, -jənt\

: not lasting long

: staying somewhere only a short time

Full Definition of TRANSIENT

a :  passing especially quickly into and out of existence :  transitory <transient beauty>
b :  passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn <transient visitors>
:  affecting something or producing results beyond itself
tran·sient·ly adverb

Examples of TRANSIENT

  1. <had transient thoughts of suicide but never acted upon them>
  2. A Summer in New York is actually Europe, the Sequel—city of transient Danes and Italians and Spaniards and French. —Guy Trebay, Village Voice, 30 July 1991


Latin transeunt-, transiens, present participle of transire to cross, pass by, from trans- + ire to go — more at issue
First Known Use: 1599

Synonym Discussion of TRANSIENT

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 \ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt; ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtran(t)-sē-; ˈtran-zhənt, -jənt\

: a person who does not have a permanent home and who stays in a place for only a short time before going somewhere else

Full Definition of TRANSIENT

:  one that is transient (see 1transient): as
a :  a guest or boarder who stays only briefly
b :  a person traveling about usually in search of work
a :  a temporary oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load
b :  a transient current or voltage


(see 1transient)
First Known Use: 1652


adjective \ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtranch-ənt\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of TRANSIENT

: passing away in time : existing temporarily <transient symptoms>


Next Word in the Dictionary: transient cause
Previous Word in the Dictionary: transiens
All Words Near: transient

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