fleet·​ing | \ˈflē-tiŋ \

Definition of fleeting 

: passing swiftly : transitory … the often fleeting nature of fame and fortune …— Tom Sinclair

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Other Words from fleeting

fleetingly \ˈflē-​tiŋ-​lē \ adverb
fleetingness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fleeting

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

Examples of fleeting in a Sentence

I caught a fleeting glimpse of the comet. had a fleeting desire to jump into the cool lake but kept on hiking

Recent Examples on the Web

To be connected to America’s causes – liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people – brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Fox News, "Farewell statement from John McCain," 27 Aug. 2018 But the opening of a new Panera or Chipotle is a fleeting thrill. Ann Friedman, Bon Appetit, "I Pine for Happy Joe’s Taco Pizza, the Culinary Relic of My Iowa Youth," 6 June 2018 The Frogs now must try and salvage a series win this weekend to keep their fleeting postseason dreams alive and get back to the .500-mark in conference play for the first time in three weeks. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "TCU's Jim Schlossnagle 'super embarrassed' by series opening loss to West Virginia | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 11 May 2018 Everyone else would sext you their privates for a fleeting feeling of human connection. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Facebook Binds, and Shatters, Communities," 11 May 2018 But a lack of new supply has meant homeownership is becoming a fleeting dream for many. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "California housing crisis may lead to economic one, says report," 4 May 2018 On top of the fleeting lightning deals, there are other longer-lasting discounts on fitness items. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here's How to Score Great Bargains on Fitness Gear From Amazon’s Early Black Friday Deals," 13 Nov. 2018 Even if those feelings are misguided, based on falsehoods, fickle, or fleeting, the opportunity to be counted is strongly valued and has a revered place in America. Jennifer Victor, Vox, "What good are elections, anyway?," 30 Oct. 2018 Becoming a fully-fledged, respected designer came with its hurdles, though, like the assumption that Beckham's interest in fashion was of the fleeting variety. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "How Victoria Beckham Went From Posh Spice to Prestige Fashion Designer," 17 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fleeting.' 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 fleeting

1563, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for fleeting

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fleeting

The first known use of fleeting was in 1563

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More Definitions for fleeting



English Language Learners Definition of fleeting

: not lasting : lasting for only a short time


fleet·​ing | \ˈflē-tiŋ\

Kids Definition of fleeting

: passing by quickly a fleeting instant

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More from Merriam-Webster on fleeting

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fleeting

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fleeting

Spanish Central: Translation of fleeting

Nglish: Translation of fleeting for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fleeting for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fleeting

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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