Thesaurus

fleeting

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of fleeting

lasting only for a short time
  • had a fleeting desire to jump into the cool lake but kept on hiking

Synonyms for fleeting

Words Related to fleeting

Near Antonyms for fleeting

Antonyms for fleeting

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About fleeting

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fleeting

Time Traveler for fleeting

Time Traveler

The first known use of fleeting was in 1563

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Fleeting.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fleeting. Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fleeting

Dictionary: Definition of fleeting

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fleeting

Spanish Central: Translation of fleeting

Nglish: Translation of fleeting for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fleeting for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fleeting

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!