tran·​si·​to·​ry | \ ˈtran(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce transitory (audio) , ˈtran-zə- How to pronounce transitory (audio) \

Definition of transitory

1 : of brief duration : temporary the transitory nature of earthly joy
2 : tending to pass away : not persistent

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from transitory

transitorily \ ˌtran(t)-​sə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce transitorily (audio) , ˌtran-​zə-​ \ adverb
transitoriness \ ˈtran(t)-​sə-​ˌtȯr-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce transitoriness (audio) , ˈtran-​zə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for transitory

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 transitory in a Sentence

the transitory nature of earthly pleasures
Recent Examples on the Web The Bank of Japan is likely to hold off on using any more of its depleted policy ammunition to prop up growth, arguing that the special factors weighing on the economy are transitory. Toru Fujioka,, "Japan’s GDP Set for Biggest Hit Since 2014 Ahead of Virus," 7 May 2020 The workshops are designed to be of benefit at that moment, Hernández explains, acknowledging that assistance to migrants fluctuates because of the transitory nature of the population. Lourdes Medrano/undark, Popular Science, "Migrants don’t carry more viruses than anyone else," 27 Apr. 2020 This change was crucial, since, until Apollo 14 when the changes were made, a transitory problem might go unnoticed if too many other things were happening at once. Eric Berger & Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 5: Saving the crew of Apollo 13," 11 Apr. 2020 Second, global energy demand has remained robust for decades, following periods of transitory economic duress and geopolitical jockeying. Mike Sommers, Fortune, "Why the U.S. oil and natural gas industry doesn’t want tariffs right now," 22 Mar. 2020 Beginning in June, then, census takers are expected to visit households around the country that have not responded to their questionnaires, as well as transitory locations like campgrounds, RV parks, marinas, and hotels. Rich Benjamin, The New York Review of Books, "Who Counts in a Census Taken During a Pandemic?," 14 Apr. 2020 Expanding outbreaks in other countries have investors and analysts rethinking their knee-jerk calls that the economic impact of the virus would be transitory and largely limited to China and its Asian neighbors. New York Times, "The World Isn’t Ready for a Major Coronavirus Outbreak," 10 Mar. 2020 There’s something transitory, anyway, about a college town. Christine Fernando, Indianapolis Star, "Stunned by coronavirus, a college town slowly awakens to a surreal new normal," 11 Apr. 2020 Many, however, do not prohibit jogging, dog-walking, beach-combing and other transitory activities. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "Researcher warns: Shut down and stay off all beaches," 6 Apr. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for transitory

Middle English transitorie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin transitorius, from Latin, of or allowing passage, from transire

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about transitory

Time Traveler for transitory

Time Traveler

The first known use of transitory was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for transitory

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Transitory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for transitory


How to pronounce transitory (audio) How to pronounce transitory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of transitory

: lasting only for a short time

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on transitory

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!