tran·​si·​tion·​al tran(t)-ˈsish-nəl How to pronounce transitional (audio)
: marked by transition : involving, providing, or consisting of a passage, movement, or change from one state, condition, subject, place, etc., to another
a transitional passage in music
They are often transitional areas between water environments and dry land, and are populated by many trees and plants that can put up with the occasional flood …JoAnn Shroyer
The social worlds of neighborhood and village are now less important as transitional zones between home and nonhome settings.Theano S. Terkenli
… turning into a civilian coup, that … established a transitional government and prepared the way for multi-party elections.Larry Diamond
… an animal about the size of a turkey that they contend was a flightless bird, a transitional figure between some carnivorous dinosaurs and modern birds.John Noble Wilford
transitionally adverb
The problem then is to structure a sequence of reforms that is politically consistent with the social mores of the Soviet Union, economically coherent, and transitionally sound … Edgar L. Feige

Examples of transitional in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Windproof fabric marks just the beginning of the intentional details built into this transitional piece, while a comfy and relaxed fit, secure zippered pockets, and a slight mock neck round out this near-perfect hiking essential. Merrell Readman, Travel + Leisure, 18 Feb. 2024 Suit Yourself Ribbed Long Sleeve Turtleneck Bodysuit A turtleneck is a versatile transitional piece that goes well with the office look. Gabriela Izquierdo, Southern Living, 17 Feb. 2024 The artists reflect on the beauty of girlhood, a transitional and contradictory time suspended between childhood and adulthood, power and weakness. Vogue, 13 Feb. 2024 Instead of pursuing transitional justice after Suharto’s resignation, Indonesia opted for a more pragmatic, forward-looking policy of reformasi, or reform, which focused on democratization, decentralization, and development. Ben Bland, Foreign Affairs, 13 Feb. 2024 And recently added the new grade of transitional kindergarten for 4-year-olds, part of a statewide expansion of early education. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 30 Jan. 2024 The mayor’s signature program to combat homelessness went to the edge of Chinatown this week, targeting encampments near the Hilda L. Solis Care First Village, a transitional housing facility for L.A.’s homeless population. Rebecca Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2024 Others have proposed that the United Nations run a transitional authority in the West Bank and Gaza, an approach that would allow time to overhaul the Palestinian governance structure and ultimately lay the groundwork for Palestinian elections. Dalia Dassa Kaye, Foreign Affairs, 1 Feb. 2024 Both the Aurora and Tiana dresses feature detachable sleeves for a transitional option from aisle to reception. Emily Strohm, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'transitional.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1819, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of transitional was in 1819

Dictionary Entries Near transitional

Cite this Entry

“Transitional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


-ˈish-nəl, -ˈizh-ən-ᵊl
: of, relating to, or characterized by transition
: of, relating to, or being epithelium (as in the urinary bladder) that consists of several layers of soft cuboidal cells which become flattened when stretched (as when the bladder is distended)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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