tran·​si·​tion·​al | \ tran(t)-ˈsish-nəl How to pronounce transitional (audio) , tran(t)-ˈsizh-, tran-ˈzish-; tran(t)-ˈsi-shə-nᵊl, tran-ˈzi-, -zhə-\

Definition of transitional

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from transitional

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

The deal stipulates two transitional periods, one technical and one political. Konstantin Testorides, The Seattle Times, "Macedonia’s name change – what does the country have to do?," 28 Jan. 2019 The answer is experimentation, and the street style set came out on the other end of the clouds with a range of transitional, covetable outerwear. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "The Best Fall Jackets, Straight From the Streets at New York Fashion Week," 14 Sep. 2018 New style: More homeowners are opting for transitional, contemporary or farmhouse design instead of modern or traditional. Diane Cowen, Houston Chronicle, "Kitchen trends: Style going more contemporary," 23 Jan. 2018 Despite threats, slammed doors or complete opposition, Roca’s founder, Molly Baldwin, said her workers will continue over the next year to invite 100 young men to join the program’s educational, life skills and transitional employment services. Yvonne Wenger,, "Nonprofit group begins relentless pursuit of Baltimore's most dangerous young men — to change them," 4 July 2018 Has this become an entitlement of an expectation of a permanent state, or is this a transitional program to help people get back on their feet? Greg Trotter,, "In Chicago, Trump’s ag secretary says pain from China trade fight ‘a temporary situation’," 26 June 2018 He was assigned to a transitional housing program for inmates in St. Louis. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Man led cops on a chase in a stolen dump truck, St. Louis police say. GPS did him in," 2 June 2018 Modern films are presented at 24 fps, so Stereo D ran the footage through computer software to smooth it out by creating digital transitional frames. Peter Martin, Popular Mechanics, "This World War I Footage Was Smoothed and Colorized. And It’s Amazing.," 17 Dec. 2018 It's been a really transitional, transformational year for me. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Lauren Jauregui Wants to Show You the Real Her," 25 Oct. 2018

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

1819, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about transitional

Share transitional

Statistics for transitional

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for transitional

The first known use of transitional was in 1819

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for transitional


tran·​si·​tion·​al | \ -ˈish-nəl, -ˈizh-ən-ᵊl\

Medical Definition of transitional

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by transition
2 : 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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on transitional

Spanish Central: Translation of transitional

Nglish: Translation of transitional for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of transitional for Arabic Speakers

Comments on transitional

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


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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