ephem·​era | \ i-ˈfe-mər-ə How to pronounce ephemera (audio) , -ˈfem-rə \
plural ephemera also ephemerae\ i-​ˈfe-​mər-​ē How to pronounce ephemerae (audio) , -​ˈfem-​rē \ or ephemeras

Definition of ephemera

1 : something of no lasting significance usually used in plural
2 ephemera plural : paper items (such as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles

Examples of ephemera in a Sentence

He has a large collection of old menus and other ephemera.
Recent Examples on the Web Calling a person a pack rat may be considered an insult to most, bringing to mind scenes of hoarders navigating piles of ephemera and what most would call trash. Sadie Witkowski, Smithsonian, "From Ancient Seeds to Scraps of Clothing, Rats’ Nests Are Full of Treasures," 15 Nov. 2019 Conceived as a portable studio visit, the book assembles images of Kaplow’s artwork, studio ephemera, video stills, source images, sketches and new artworks. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Literary calendar: Duluth poet Louis Jenkins reads from new collection; Cheryl Minnema launches ‘Johnny’s Pheasant’," 27 Oct. 2019 Her latest, Essays One, collects essays and reviews and talks and some of what I’d consider ephemera. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "In Essays One, Lydia Davis Goes Big," 12 Nov. 2019 Unger Baskin has spent a lifetime trying to add to that evidence file, amassing an astounding collection documenting women’s work through photographs, books, trade cards, artifacts, personal letters, and ephemera. Michele Norris, National Geographic, "Why the future should be female," 15 Oct. 2019 Once bought, QQ Coins are non-refundable—at least through the company, which instead recommends spending them on ephemera like changing the appearance of their Tencent Avatars. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Tencent created QQ Coin long before Facebook’s Libra," 11 July 2019 This means gathering up ephemera alongside abiding truths, in the personal and also the sociopolitical spheres. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Can One Sentence Capture All of Life?," 6 Sep. 2019 This gallery in a vending kiosk at Weller Court in Little Tokyo is being transformed into an ever-evolving installation composed of keepsakes, found objects and other ephemera by Wawrinofksy. Los Angeles Times, "Datebook: Stark domestic scenes by German painter Lenz Geerk," 13 Sep. 2019 No matter the language or the content, Ganavya’s voice is a thick ephemera, like smoke as dark as ink, just coming off the fire. New York Times, "The Playlist: Christina Aguilera’s Bizarre Puzzle, and 13 More New Songs," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ephemera.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ephemera

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ephemera

New Latin, from Greek ephēmera, neuter plural of ephēmeros

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Time Traveler for ephemera

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The first known use of ephemera was in 1650

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Statistics for ephemera

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ephemera.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ephemera?pronunciation&lang=en_us&file=epheme01.wav. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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How to pronounce ephemera (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ephemera

: things that are important or useful for only a short time : items that were not meant to have lasting value

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Comments on ephemera

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


delight or enjoyment

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