transient

1 of 2

adjective

tran·​sient ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt How to pronounce transient (audio)
ˈtran-zē-ənt,
ˈtran(t)-sē-;
ˈtran-zhənt,
-jənt
1
a
: 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
transiently adverb

transient

2 of 2

noun

tran·​sient ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt How to pronounce transient (audio)
ˈtran-zē-ənt,
ˈtran(t)-sē-;
ˈtran-zhənt,
-jənt
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
2
a
: 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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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.

Choose the Right Synonym for transient

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

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
had transient thoughts of quitting her job and going back to school
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
By comparison, transient or Biggs killer whales will eat bigger prey including other marine mammals, including sea lions, dolphins, and other whales. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 15 May 2024 Baltimore marinas are also a landing place for transient boaters traveling up and down the East Coast and to the Midwest. Amanda Yeager, Baltimore Sun, 17 Apr. 2024
Noun
The giant telescope, with its 8.4-meter primary mirror and digital camera, will map out the Milky Way galaxy and the planets in our Solar System and track objects called 'transients' that move across the sky. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 28 May 2024 But if they’re designated as part of a species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature will assess them (and transients) separately. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for transient 

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of transient was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near transient

Cite this Entry

“Transient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transient. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

transient

1 of 2 adjective
tran·​sient ˈtranch-ənt How to pronounce transient (audio)
: not lasting or staying long
transiently adverb

transient

2 of 2 noun
1
: a temporary guest
2
: a person traveling about usually in search of work

Medical Definition

transient

adjective
: passing away in time : existing temporarily
transient symptoms

More from Merriam-Webster on transient

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