tem·​po·​rary | \ ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē How to pronounce temporary (audio) \

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, provisionary, provisory, 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

Although the move was meant to be temporary, the idea was so successful in attracting tourists that locals voted to keep the distinctive coloring. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 The cutback in production is likely to be temporary as Glencore explores new copper-mining methods for the mine. ... Scott Patterson, WSJ, "Glencore to Cut Production at Major Copper, Cobalt Mine," 19 Feb. 2019 The issue on my unit has been temporary, and reverted back to the correct format after restarting the phone, as others seem to have experienced. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Pixel 3 XL glitch is causing a second notch to appear, but a fix is coming," 29 Oct. 2018 Indeed, 40 percent of undocumented immigrants are ones who simply overstayed their temporary visas in the country. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Trump's Wall Won't Work," 22 Feb. 2019 During Wendy's absence, loyal watchers were left in the care of temporary celebrity hosts, including Nick Cannon, actress Keke Palmer, and comedian Sherri Shepherd, among others. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "We Finally Know When Wendy William Is Coming Back to Her Show," 21 Feb. 2019 The negotiations are part of a temporary tariff truce reached by President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Argentina on Dec. 1. WSJ, "China’s Annual Trade Surplus With U.S. Hits Record Despite Trump’s Tariff Offensive," 13 Jan. 2019 The two sides reached a temporary truce in November, with President Donald Trump agreeing to hold off raising tariffs on nearly $200 billion in goods. Jen Kirby, Vox, "US charges Chinese government-linked hackers accused of a decade-long global cyber campaign," 20 Dec. 2018 Talks among Russia, Jordan and the rebels aimed at coaxing the rebels to surrender resulted in two temporary truces on Friday, according to the Syrian Observatory. New York Times, "Syrian Assault Flouts U.S.-Backed Cease-Fire and Sets Off New Exodus," 29 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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Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for temporary

The first known use of temporary was circa 1564

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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 How to pronounce temporary (audio) \

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).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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