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

Essential Meaning of transient

1 : not lasting long transient joys
2 : staying somewhere only a short time a transient population transient guests

Full 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


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

Other Words from transient


transiently adverb

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

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 Parke may be transient, and he is known to frequent Fresno and Los Angeles County, specifically the areas of Santa Monica, Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks, officials said. NBC News, 13 Jan. 2022 This sort of upper atmospheric lightning is part of a group of events classified as transient luminous events that occur within the upper regions of Earth's atmosphere and were first spotted by accident in 1989. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 10 Nov. 2021 Summer thunderstorms in the Washington area are generally transient events, sweeping across city and suburb from the north or west, following an advance guard of darkening skies. Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2021 And these low-magnitude transient events occur in the Fermi GBM data about once or twice per day. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 But the immunity boost is transient; already preliminary studies are showing a decline in antibody levels just weeks after a third dose. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, 6 Jan. 2022 The water district planned to build it with a $10 million loan from the state Community Impact Board (CIB), paying off the debt with transient room tax revenue. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Dec. 2021 Starting in 2022, transient slip fees will be $1 per foot per day from Oct. 1 to March 31 and $1.50 per day from April 1 to Sept. 30. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Dec. 2021 Ecstasy as a kind of transient belonging—to be fully at home in one’s senses, led there through the touch of another person. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The next day, a transient found parts of Newton's dismembered body in a trash bin about 3 miles down Santa Monica Boulevard. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 Jan. 2022 His age was not available but the police spokesman said Burn was born in 1987 and is a transient known to move around the Thousand Oaks area. Gregory Yee Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2021 When his original shoe repair shack was destroyed by a fire, later attributed to a transient, the townspeople set up a GoFundMe campaign and worked with Home Depot to buy him a replacement shed. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2021 The man was identified by police as 43-year-old Brandon Shaun Aldecoa and a transient. Mackenzie Brower, The Arizona Republic, 23 Sep. 2021 Dong was able to find X-rays that appeared in the same spot as the bright radio transient, which meant they were probably created by the same thing. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 7 Sep. 2021 Scientists’ best guess for the cause of the bright blip, known as a fast blue optical transient (FBOT), was that the interior of a star collapsed to become a neutron star or black hole before a true supernova could form. Jonathan O’callaghan, Science | AAAS, 20 July 2021 Harbor master personnel recovered the body, which coroners identified as 59-year-old Frank Gee, a transient. Nora Mishanec, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 July 2021 Police said Walker is known to be a transient who lives in different hotels in the area. al, 7 May 2021

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


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


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

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Time Traveler for transient

Time Traveler

The first known use of transient was in 1599

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Dictionary Entries Near transient



transient cause

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Statistics for transient

Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Transient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for transient


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



Kids Definition of transient (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person traveling about usually in search of work


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

More from Merriam-Webster on transient

Nglish: Translation of transient for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of transient for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about transient


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