Meaning of TRANSIENT in English


I. -sh(ē-)ənt, -zē-ənt, -sē-; -zhənt, -jənt adjective

Etymology: Latin transeunt-, transiens, present participle of transire to cross, pass by, from trans- + ire to go — more at issue

Date: 1599


a. : passing especially quickly into and out of existence : transitory

transient beauty

b. : passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn

transient visitors

2. : affecting something or producing results beyond itself

• tran·sient·ly adverb


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

II. noun

Date: 1652

1. : one that is transient: as

a. : a transient guest

b. : a person traveling about usually in search of work


a. : a temporary oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load

b. : a transient current or voltage

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.