transitory

adjective tran·si·to·ry \ ˈtran(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē , ˈtran-zə- \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of transitory

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

transitorily

play \ˌtran(t)-sə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē, ˌtran-zə-\ adverb

transitoriness

play \ˈtran(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē-nəs, ˈtran-zə-\ noun

Examples of transitory in a Sentence

  1. the transitory nature of earthly pleasures

Recent Examples of transitory from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of transitory

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

TRANSITORY Defined for English Language Learners

transitory

adjective

Definition of transitory for English Language Learners

  • : lasting only for a short time



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or being an oracle

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman-tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

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!