Synonym Chooser

How is the word fleeting different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of fleeting are ephemeral, evanescent, fugitive, momentary, transient, and transitory. While all these words mean "lasting or staying only a short time," fugitive and fleeting imply passing so quickly as to make apprehending difficult.

let a fugitive smile flit across his face
fleeting moments of joy

In what contexts can ephemeral take the place of fleeting?

The words ephemeral and fleeting are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ephemeral implies striking brevity of life or duration.

many slang words are ephemeral

Where would evanescent be a reasonable alternative to fleeting?

While the synonyms evanescent and fleeting are close in meaning, evanescent suggests a quick vanishing and an airy or fragile quality.

the story has an evanescent touch of whimsy that is lost in translation

When is it sensible to use momentary instead of fleeting?

The synonyms momentary and fleeting are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When might transient be a better fit than fleeting?

The meanings of transient and fleeting largely overlap; however, transient applies to what is actually short in its duration or stay.

a hotel catering primarily to transient guests

When is transitory a more appropriate choice than fleeting?

The words transitory and fleeting can be used in similar contexts, but 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

Thesaurus Entries Near fleeting

Cite this Entry

“Fleeting.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

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