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, 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

But that decline proved temporary, driven by exporters who were rushing to beat the imposition of tariffs. Theo Francis, WSJ, "Slowing Global Economy Weighs on U.S. Profits and Trade," 28 Nov. 2018 While the physical effects of tear gas in many cases are temporary, being attacked with a chemical irritant does cause short-term issues and can be destabilizing in many ways, both physically and emotionally. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Is Exactly How Tear Gas Affects Your Body," 26 Nov. 2018 In addition, migraine auras can cause temporary, partial or full blindness, as well as muscle weakness. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 The jet recently suffered two setbacks: the first-ever crash, in September 2018, which led to a temporary, worldwide stand-down as the services inspected the fuel tubes in the plane’s F135 engine. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The F-35 Program Is About To Start Pivotal Testing To Prove Its Worth," 19 Oct. 2018 The change will take effect on November 1 and will apply to full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Amazon institutes $15 minimum wage for all US employees, including temps," 2 Oct. 2018 Architects in Puerto Rico have long emphasized housing—emergency, temporary, and permanent—as a lack of up-to-code homes, declining property values, and high property vacancy rates have created a housing crisis. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How architects and designers are rebuilding Puerto Rico," 20 Sep. 2018 For $12 an hour (a dollar more than last year!), temporary workers will be tasked with stocking store shelves and checking people out at the register. Alexis Jones, Woman's Day, "Target Is Hiring 120,000 Workers for the Holiday Season," 14 Sep. 2018 Now, as Deadline reports, that temporary replacement is now permanent. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "'NCIS' Announces Diona Reasonover Is Permanently Replacing Pauley Perette," 19 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

5 Dec 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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