Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

transitory

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

Simple Definition of transitory

  • : lasting only for a short time

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of transitory

  1. 1 :  tending to pass away :  not persistent

  2. 2 :  of brief duration :  temporary <the transitory nature of earthly joy>

transitorily

play \ˌtran(t)-sə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē, ˌtran-zə-\ adverb

transitoriness

play \ˈtran(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē-nəs, ˈtran-zə-\ noun

Examples of transitory in a sentence

  1. the transitory nature of earthly pleasures



Origin and Etymology of transitory

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>.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up transitory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a very small amount

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommadate accommodate acommodate accomodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ