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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Desire is transient; states of mind are fleeting and untrustworthy. Alejandro Chacoff, The New Yorker, "The Italian Novelist Who Envisioned a World Without Humanity," 28 Dec. 2020 But that’s not where historical astronomers saw their transient stars, which exploded above and below the disk. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Stars are dying all across the galaxy—why don’t we see them?," 16 Dec. 2020 Hype is transient on the internet, and without the right press or the amplification that comes with big brand partnerships, some houses fizzle. New York Times, "The New Influencer Capital of America," 11 Dec. 2020 Dieterle said veterans’ families are often the most transient population of the United States. Scott Mcclallen, Washington Examiner, "Michigan Senate approves criminal justice, occupational licensing reform for veterans," 4 Dec. 2020 Although transient workers ostensibly focus their lives around travel and around new destinations, Dr. Thompson argues that location has always been primarily a backdrop for a fairly uniform culture. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, "Spawned by the pandemic, digital nomads are redefining ‘home’," 17 Nov. 2020 Since 1961, scientists had known about messenger RNA, the transient genetic material that makes life possible, taking the instructions inscribed in DNA and delivering those to the protein-making parts of the cell. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, "A gamble pays off in ‘spectacular success’: How the leading coronavirus vaccines made it to the finish line," 6 Dec. 2020 But a study of young adults did find that UFO belief is associated with schizotypal personality, a tendency toward social anxiety, paranoid ideas and transient psychosis. Chris Impey, The Conversation, "I’m an astronomer and I think aliens may be out there – but UFO sightings aren’t persuasive," 4 Dec. 2020 Others living transient lives could count on the holidays to reunite with family. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "This Thanksgiving, homeless Washingtonians look ahead in an especially hard year," 26 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Another new allegation involves what several athletes called a disregard for the team’s safety after McCabe reported being assaulted by a transient in a public restroom at Himmel Park, where the team trains on a regular basis. Caitlin Schmidt, The Arizona Republic, "Twelve former UA athletes support claims of abusive, neglectful practices in track program," 18 Sep. 2020 Erin Moriarty: What about the transient that everyone describes who looks a lot like Woody Harrelson? Erin Moriarty, CBS News, "Was a Florida man's obsession with a home renovation a motive for murder?," 12 Sep. 2020 He is later identified as a transient who moved to Memphis. Dallas Morning News, "‘Every day is a struggle’: El Paso, one year later," 31 July 2020 Instead, the team suspects that ORCs may be a type of circular spherical wave which appeared in the aftermath of an extra-galactic transient event, like a powerful neutron star merger. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Spot Strange Space Object, Have No Idea What It Is," 10 July 2020 The suspect is believed to be a transient that has frequented the area previously. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly police report," 6 July 2020 The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office identified the suspect as Mason James Lira, 26, who officials described as a transient. NBC News, "California police search for suspect after body found, deputy shot," 11 June 2020 Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis said Wednesday afternoon that the person found shot to death near the train station was thought to be possibly a transient from the area camping out overnight. NBC News, "California police search for suspect after body found, deputy shot," 11 June 2020 As the panel heard evidence against a homeless woman accused of lighting another transient on fire, 12 jurors and two alternates sat with a vacant seat separating each of them. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, "Justice in a time of coronavirus: Scared jurors, delayed trials, court closures," 13 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of transient

Adjective

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1660, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about transient

Time Traveler for transient

Time Traveler

The first known use of transient was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Statistics for transient

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Transient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transient. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for transient

transient

adjective
How to pronounce transient (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of transient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

transient

noun
How to pronounce transient (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on transient

What made you want to look up transient? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!