fleet·​ing ˈflē-tiŋ How to pronounce fleeting (audio)
: passing swiftly : transitory
… the often fleeting nature of fame and fortune …Tom Sinclair
fleetingly adverb
fleetingness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for fleeting

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 fleeting in a Sentence

I caught a fleeting glimpse of the comet. had a fleeting desire to jump into the cool lake but kept on hiking
Recent Examples on the Web The strategic evolution brought by Web3 is reshaping the future of customer interaction, where engagement becomes more than a fleeting victory but the very essence of the customer journey. Tyler Moebius, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Regardless of the technique and what's packed inside, every juicy and tender bite of boudin promises a satisfying—albeit fleeting—sensation of grease dripping down the chin. Michelle Darrisaw, Southern Living, 20 Feb. 2024 By 2015, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, there was a growing consensus that Putin’s propaganda had largely succeeded on Russia’s youth, who were too young to remember the fleeting, tumultuous democratic reforms of the 1990s and had never really known democracy. Andrei Soldatov, Foreign Affairs, 16 Feb. 2024 But even the career success was fleeting: Amoruso led her nearly multi-million-dollar fashion company Nasty Gal to bankruptcy. Abigail Anthony, National Review, 11 Feb. 2024 If only everyone’s 15 minutes of fame could be as maximalist, as culturally ubiquitous, as this fleeting moment on the world’s biggest stage. Staff Author, EW.com, 10 Feb. 2024 The rain/snow mix will be fleeting for the areas north and northwest of the Metroplex, the Fort Worth meteorologist said, but rain will continue across the region as temperatures continue to hover near freezing levels. David Montesino, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 Feb. 2024 On May 9, PTI supporters ransacked military premises in response to an earlier, fleeting arrest of Khan. TIME, 9 Feb. 2024 In the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce, Woot stands out with its unique model of fleeting deals and substantial discounts. Gabriela Vatu, PCMAG, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fleeting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1563, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fleeting was in 1563

Dictionary Entries Near fleeting

Cite this Entry

“Fleeting.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fleeting. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: not lasting : passing swiftly
a fleeting glimpse

More from Merriam-Webster on fleeting

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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