tem·po·rary | \ ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē \

Definition of temporary 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: lasting for a limited time


plural temporaries

Definition of temporary (Entry 2 of 2)

: one serving for a limited time adding several temporaries as typists during the summer

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Other words from temporary


temporariness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for temporary

Synonyms: Adjective

ad interim, impermanent, interim, provisional, short-term

Antonyms: Adjective

long-term, permanent

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Examples of temporary in a Sentence


The drug will give you temporary relief from the pain. The delay is only temporary. The settlers built temporary shelters.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In China, the temporary halt in the construction of new telecommunications towers has lowered the demand for some of the company’s products, Valmont said. Waverly Colville, WSJ, "Valmont Says Proposed U.S. Tariffs, Brazil Truckers’ Strike Impacting Customers," 12 July 2018 For crab businesses, obtaining the H2-B visas that are required to bring temporary foreign workers has long been a complicated process. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "After July Fourth crab feasts, an uncertain season for Maryland seafood industry," 6 July 2018 During the 2020s companies across the rich world began to rely more heavily than ever on outsourced, temporary workers assigned via digital platforms. The Economist, "Run, TaskRabbit, run: July 2030," 5 July 2018 Even though the recording machine may grind to a temporary halt this year, there's plenty of grease on the gears of their unabashed brand of jubilant, deliberately grimey rock and roll to keep them running strong. Aaron Davis, sacbee, "Three to see: Summer heats up with electric artists," 29 June 2018 CertainTeed, a ceiling tile manufacturer in Plymouth, is looking to broaden its production staff with part-time help as the supply of available temporary workers — and their quality — has become a bit less reliable. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The problems of full employment — for some," 22 June 2018 The temporary halt in fighting is only for three days, June 15-18. The Christian Science Monitor, "Clues of peace in Afghanistan," 15 June 2018 In the Foxconn factory in the city of Hengyang, Amazon and Foxconn can pay their temporary workers a minimum wage that’s lower than in other Chinese cities. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "How Amazon Exploits Chinese Workers to Crank Out Its Products," 13 June 2018 Petrobras’ American Depositary Receipts were down 16 percent at 11:10 a.m. New York time, and local shares plunged 15% after a temporary trading halt was lifted. Fortune, "Petrobras CEO Pedro Parente Resigns as Strikes Take Down Market Favorite," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This allowed undocumented immigrants brought to America as children who enrolled in or graduated from school, university or the armed forces and had no criminal record temporary, renewable legal working papers. The Economist, "America’s immigration system is broken," 28 June 2018 Salvadorans were first allowed to apply for temporary protected status by the George W. Bush administration after major earthquakes devastated parts of El Salvador in 2001, causing many to flee the country. Monroe Trombly, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio Gov. John Kasich to Donald Trump: Frustrated? 'Sit on your hands and keep your mouth shut'," 16 Jan. 2018 Why the move to such a high percent of a firm’s staff being temporaries of one form or another? Phil Blair, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Who would have thought we'd be moving to a just-in-time workforce?," 11 Sep. 2017 Temporary Protected Status was first provided to Haitians under the Obama administration following Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Trump administration seeking criminal history of Haitians," 9 May 2017 The Homeland Security Department said Kelly has not made a final decision about Temporary Protected Status for Haiti and declined to comment on the process. Washington Post, "US seeks evidence of Haitian crimes as it weighs their stay," 9 May 2017 Tens of thousands of Haitians in the United States when a massive earthquake struck in 2010 were invited to apply for temporary protected status. Sandra Pedicini, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Hundreds of Haitian Disney employees may have to leave U.S.," 25 Apr. 2017

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


circa 1564, in the meaning defined above


1848, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for temporary


Latin temporarius, from tempor-, tempus time

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Statistics for temporary

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for temporary

The first known use of temporary was circa 1564

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More Definitions for temporary



English Language Learners Definition of temporary

: continuing for a limited amount of time : not permanent

: intended to be used for a limited amount of time


tem·po·rary | \ ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē \

Kids Definition of temporary

: not permanent We performed on a temporary stage.

Other words from temporary

temporarily \ˌtem-pə-ˈrer-ə-lē \ adverb

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Comments on temporary

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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