transient

adjective
tran·​sient | \ ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt How to pronounce transient (audio) ; ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtran(t)-sē-; ˈtran-zhənt, -jənt\

Definition of transient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : passing especially quickly into and out of existence : transitory transient beauty
b : passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn transient visitors
2 : affecting something or producing results beyond itself

transient

noun
tran·​sient | \ ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt How to pronounce transient (audio) ; ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtran(t)-sē-; ˈtran-zhənt, -jənt\

Definition of transient (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is transient (see transient entry 1): such as
a : a guest or boarder who stays only briefly
b : a person traveling about usually in search of work
2a : a temporary oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load
b : a transient current or voltage

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Other Words from transient

Adjective

transiently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for transient

Adjective

transient, transitory, ephemeral, momentary, fugitive, fleeting, evanescent mean lasting or staying only a short time. 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

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. The hoboes and tramps of earlier years were some of our most colorful transients, known for hopping freight trains, panhandling on the street, and stealing homemade pies cooling on the windowsill.

Examples of transient in a Sentence

Adjective

A 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 1991 But 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 1990 The mountain lies between his residence and the main road, and occludes the expectation of transient visits. — Thomas Jefferson, letter, 4 Aug. 1820
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Their rarity and transient nature have helped keep them from being better understood. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "We’ve seen more fast radio bursts, but we still don’t know what they are," 11 Oct. 2018 Washington is a transient city where many retain their loyalties to the hometown teams, yet even that loyalty draws them to Nationals Park when their team is in town. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Baseball Bridges the Political Divide in Washington," 16 July 2018 Los Angeles Times Ventura's police chief says his officers erred in not responding to reports of a transient scaring people in the city's boardwalk. Benjamin Oreskes, latimes.com, "Essential California: More rent control, maybe?," 24 Apr. 2018 Gay elongates each of these episodes, however transient or absurd, lavishly appointing them with supple, ornate prose. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Revitalizing the Southern Gothic Style," 19 July 2018 When capsaicin binds to and activates a kind of pain receptor called transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), the receptors communicate with your brain and cause a burning sensation. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Here's Exactly What to Do If You Get Something Spicy on Your Vulva or Vagina," 12 Oct. 2018 In particular, the GMC’s adaptive-damping suspension felt a little behind, failing to contain transient wheel juddering after hitting uneven surface. Dan Neil, WSJ, "A Luxury Truck Showdown: Ram 1500 vs. GMC Sierra," 11 Oct. 2018 It's been six months since the state began collecting a 6 percent sales tax and a 1 percent transient bed tax from the business that connects travelers with individuals willing to host them at their private properties. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Airbnb earns millions of dollars during Derby. This year, Louisville can finally collect," 10 Apr. 2018 In this case, the world’s widest ocean was no match for America’s love and compassion for 12 boys trapped in a cave — so why can’t that same love transcend something as transient and as artificial as a simple border fence? Will Bunch, Philly.com, "The world shows its love to kids in a Thai cave. We need that same love for kids at the border | Will Bunch," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The city admits that the space has been plagued by transients, crime and loitering. Karen Pearlman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Architecture students hope to freshen Lemon Grove park," 11 July 2018 Previously, researchers suggested that these dark streaks could be caused by transient, flowing briny water, perhaps indicating that Mars is habitable, as many have suspected over time. Chelsea Gohd, Space.com, "Wow! This Fresh Meteoroid Impact on Mars Triggered a Dusty Avalanche," 19 June 2018 While the study paints a picture of cultural and genetic turmoil that matches the historical record, somehow its effects ended up being transient. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy," 14 Sep. 2018 The cleanliness and perception/presence of homeless/transients, crime and criminal activity was the largest deterrent to community members spending more time downtown, the city reported. Karen Pearlman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "L.G. ready to move along on vision for future of downtown," 23 Apr. 2018 So the transients, mostly women and children displaced from nearby towns, ventured outside their temporary housing on Monday for some air, witnesses said. Saeed Al-batati And Rick Gladstone, New York Times, "Saudi Bombing Is Said to Kill Yemeni Civilians Seeking Relief From the Heat," 2 Apr. 2018 Kevin Talbott, a transient from the Poway area, matched the description of a possible suspect in the homicide, sheriff's Lt. Steve Dreyer, Pomerado News, "Man fatally stabbed in Poway," 15 Jan. 2018 There is even the perception that our district is a suitable place for dangerous social experiments, such as drug needle distribution programs and portable toilets for transients. Michelle Figueredo-wilson, latimes.com, "Westside Costa Mesa deserves a strong voice on the City Council," 19 June 2018 Driving can also be difficult in the area because homeless people often walk in front of cars without looking and new parks, like the one in front of Pinnacle on the Park, has become a hangout for transients. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "More than 2,000 new San Diego apartments to open this year," 9 Mar. 2018

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

Adjective

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for transient

Adjective and Noun

Latin transeunt-, transiens, present participle of transire to cross, pass by, from trans- + ire to go — more at issue entry 1

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Statistics for transient

Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for transient

The first known use of transient was in 1599

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More Definitions for transient

transient

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of transient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal
: not lasting long
: staying somewhere only a short time

transient

noun

English Language Learners Definition of transient (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US : a person who does not have a permanent home and who stays in a place for only a short time before going somewhere else

transient

adjective
tran·​sient | \ ˈtran-shənt How to pronounce transient (audio) \

Kids Definition of transient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not lasting or staying long a transient illness transient workers

transient

noun

Kids Definition of transient (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person traveling about usually in search of work

transient

adjective
tran·​sient | \ ˈtran-zē-ənt How to pronounce transient (audio) , ˈtranch-ənt How to pronounce transient (audio) \

Medical Definition of transient

: passing away in time : existing temporarily transient symptoms

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Comments on transient

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