Meaning of TRANSIENT in English


I. ˈtranchənt, ˈtraan- sometimes -nzēənt or -n(t)sēənt or -nzhənt or -njənt adjective

Etymology: Latin transeunt-, transiens, present participle of transire to go across or beyond, cross over, pass, pass away, from trans- 22 ire to go — more at issue


a. : passing away in time or ceasing to exist : impermanent , transitory , short-lived

not even spring beauty … was so transient — like music fading away — Ruth Suckow

features of their culture were transient ; they do not now exist — John Dewey

the Leyden jar gave only transient electrical current, but the voltaic cell … provided a continuous source of current — S.F.Mason

if the patient is examined … when the circulatory impairment is transient or rapidly compensated — Alfred Blalock

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

transient agricultural population with discouraged settlers constantly pulling up stakes and drifting on — American Guide Series: Arizona

the hotel accommodates transient guests

the transient butterfly — Edna S. V. Millay

c. of a musical modulation : introduced momentarily or in passing from one key to a third one

2. : passing beyond itself : outwardly effective or efficient : emanant

the creation of the universe considered as a transient act

— contrasted with immanent

3. : passing from one person or thing to another

dominant traits transient through succeeding generations


transitory , passing , ephemeral , momentary , fleeting , fugitive , evanescent , short-lived : transient often describes that which is short in its duration or stay and passes quickly

after a transient seventh-century conquest by Assyria, Egypt experienced one more flourishing renascence (663-525) of its old patterns under native rulers — A.L.Kroeber

guilt in Mrs. Clay's face as she listened … was transient: cleared away in an instant — Jane Austen

the excitement of the examination may produce violent and rapid heart action, often associated with a transient systolic murmur — H.G.Armstrong

transitory and passing may suggest the notion of the inevitability of changing, ending, or dying out

their eyes were lifted from the earth … not concerned with its transitory things, soon to be consumed — H.O.Taylor

the pleasures of taste, at best, are transitory — Virgil Thomson

have omitted no important event and no incident of more than passing interest — Bernard De Voto

men are given to the trick of having a passing fancy for somebody else in the midst of a permanent love, which reasserts itself afterwards just as before — Thomas Hardy

ephemeral may suggest the idea of living only for a day; it describes only that which endures for a similar brief period

the life of the mayfly is ephemeral

the very best of our experience is not as good as our dreams: our most exquisite moments are flawed and fragmentary … ephemeral — David Cecil

momentary applies to that which endures only a moment or similar quite short period

being a work of men's hands, it gave the child a momentary sense of comfort, of companionship in the dreadful wild — C.G.D.Roberts

the momentary lulls between succeeding waves — C.B.Nordhoff & J.N.Hall

fleeting may suggest a flying transitoriness making it hard or impossible to arrest or apprehend the thing in question

to take advantage of these fleeting opportunities, one must have a quick control over his own mind — S.M.Crothers

how to seize the fleeting impressions of that dream — P.E.More

fugitive may suggest that whatever is described may be thought of as in flight and seeking to escape apprehension

here is the last chance to feel young … but the days are fugitive and most of us are too busy — E.A.Weeks

there were moments of fugitive sunshine, but of such brief duration that they but added to our misery — C.B.Nordhoff & J.N.Hall

evanescent describes that which is quite fleeting and likely to vanish away; it may apply to the delicate, fragile, unsubstantial, and airy

the quality of her charm was evanescent … forever fleeing — Elinor Wylie

of lusters with so evanescent a sheen their colours are felt, but never seen — Amy Lowell

the scholar with perspective of his subject is aware … that part of his business is to distinguish the evanescent fad from permanent progress — A.L.Kroeber

short-lived stresses the fact of brevity of existence

as short-lived as Well's paper, lasting only from July 14 until October 15 — American Guide Series: Florida

II. noun

( -s )

1. : one that is transient: as

a. : a transient guest or boarder

motels cater chiefly to transients

b. : an often homeless person traveling about usually in search of work or a living

a city of permanent transients who shift … from one section to another — wherever they can find food and coal — Norman Cousins

the great bulk of transients are law-abiding individuals … in pursuit of employment — H.A.Bloch


a. : a temporary or rapidly changing state or condition of an electrical system ; specifically : a temporary electrical oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load

b. : a transient current or voltage

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.