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

But that proved to be a temporary recovery from the slippage that had begun years earlier, when cities such as Washington, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco began to aggressively compete with Boston for tryouts. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "A comeback role for Boston theaters?," 14 July 2018 Seoul's economic inducements resulted in a temporary rapprochement, and two summits with the North in 2000 and 2007 that involved then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Fox News, "Moon presses Trump, Kim for breakthrough in nuclear talks," 13 July 2018 Michael Morris of Orlando spotted through his sunroof a temporary light pole toppling toward him. Kevin Spear, OrlandoSentinel.com, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 The temporary union of spirits will have to do for now, and that’s not nothing. Longreads, "Tennis vs. Tennis," 13 July 2018 For now, and much to his own frustration, Metu’s development has been placed on temporary hold. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Metu’s misfortune means missed opportunity for Spurs’ second-rounder," 12 July 2018 But according to a report from Fotomac newspaper via Turkish Football, Fenerbahce are willing to offer Origi a temporary way out of Anfield. SI.com, "Turkish Giants Make Offer to Sign Star Liverpool Striker on Loan This Summer," 12 July 2018 For those transferring to the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street, there will be tents providing temporary shelter as well as signs with additional details about boardings, routes and closures. Katherine Nails, Philly.com, "SEPTA's Center City trolley tunnel to close for 9-day maintenance 'blitz'," 12 July 2018 At other times, currencies deviate from fundamentals because of temporary disparities in risks and short-term interest rates. The Economist, "Investors are gorging on American assets," 12 July 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

10 Oct 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).


one that holds something together

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