: a person traveling about usually in search of work
: a temporary oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load
: a transient current or voltage
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How should you use transient?
A transient mood is one that passes quickly. A brief stopover in a town on your way to somewhere else is a transient visit. A summer job on a farm is transient work, lasting only as long as the growing season. You may occasionally experience a transient episode of dizziness or weakness, which vanishes without a trace. As a noun, transient means a person who passes through a place, staying only briefly.
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 transient in a Sentence
AdjectiveA Summer in New York is actually Europe, the Sequel—city of transient Danes and Italians and Spaniards and French.—Guy Trebay, Village Voice, 30 July 1991But Vandenberg, who had already written a hagiographic biography of Hamilton, was doing his personal hero no service. Rather, he trivialized him by dragging him into the transient issues of the day.—John Steele Gordon, American Heritage, July/August 1990The mountain lies between his residence and the main road, and occludes the expectation of transient visits.—Thomas Jefferson, letter, 4 Aug. 1820
Recent Examples on the Web
The city collected about $163,000 in transient occupancy tax from short-term rentals in fiscal 2022-23, Madera said.—Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Nov. 2023 Side Effects Most penicillin side effects are mild and transient and will resolve on their own without treatment.—Jenny Sweigard, Verywell Health, 16 Nov. 2023 According to Black Desert officials’ numbers, the resort is expected to generate $57 million in transient room taxes and $33 million in sales tax during its first 40 years of operation.—Mark Eddington, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2023 Henton is believed to be transient and to frequent the riverfront area on both the Iowa and Nebraska sides, police said.—Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 10 Nov. 2023 Our era of transient media consumption has pinned aesthetic depth in the hands of a few niche subcultures.—Anto Dotcom, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2023 The ocean waters around Vancouver Island are home to three Southern Resident orca pods, along with a number of transient orcas that roam from Alaska down to California.—Dac Collins, Outdoor Life, 25 Oct. 2023 These symptoms are usually mild and transient but can be bothersome for some people.—Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2023 Ultrafast photography has applications in motion tracking and analysis, security, and robotic vision, as well as in laboratories to see transient physical, chemical, or biological phenomena.—IEEE Spectrum, 28 Sep. 2023
The city would also have received an additional 5% surcharge over its regular 14% transient occupancy tax.—Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2023 Now, astronomers have discovered a new X-ray transient and are offering an explanation for these outbursts.—Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2023 Hello Adaptive Audio, Goodbye Adaptive Transparency The Adaptive Transparency mode that was originally available for the AirPods Pro lowered any transient sounds over 85dB in a graceful manner.—Joe Hindy, PCMAG, 18 Sep. 2023 The same year, more than 61% of voters in Lompoc, Calif., backed a 1% special transient occupancy tax increase for hotels, motels, short-term rentals and other lodgings to pay for police and fire services.—Hannah Wiley, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 The City of Hillsboro allocated $18 million in its transient lodging tax and the team’s owners, Mike and Laura McMurray committed to paying $82 million toward the project through a private bond that would be paid back through ballpark revenues.—Bill Oram, oregonlive, 8 Sep. 2023 According to the team, similar behavior has been observed in quasi-periodic eruptions and periodic nuclear transients.—Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 7 Sep. 2023 Both men were transients and had lengthy criminal histories for property and drug crimes.—Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 29 Aug. 2023 In recent years, scientists have puzzled over a particular class of transients – bursts of intense X-rays and light shot from distant galactic centers.—Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'transient.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Adjective and Noun
Latin transeunt-, transiens, present participle of transire to cross, pass by, from trans- + ire to go — more at issue entry 1