transient, transitory
Both words mean ‘brief, fleeting’, with transient conveying rather more strongly the notion of people or things ‘passing through’ while transitory denotes temporary situations that are more static:

• The highly transient nature of the casual labour force in hotels and catering, and the low attachment to work of many casuals…mean that the unions' task will scarcely be an easy one —B. Casey, 1988

• In traditional critical study, questions about politics were rarely felt important since politics engaged with transitory activities —T. Healy, 1992.

Transient has special meanings in music, philosophy, electricity, and nuclear physics, and transitory has a special meaning in law. The noun transience is generally preferable to the more cumbersome word transitoriness.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Transient — Tran sient, a. [L. transiens, entis, p. pr. of transire, transitum, to go or pass over. See {Trance}.] 1. Passing before the sight or perception, or, as it were, moving over or across a space or scene viewed, and then disappearing; hence, of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transient — tran‧si‧ent [ˈtrænziənt ǁ ˈtrænʆnt] adjective formal only lasting for a short period of time: • Customer loyalty in the health drinks market appears transient at the best of times. * * * transient UK US /ˈtrænziənt/ adjective ► something that is …   Financial and business terms

  • transient — adj Transient, transitory, passing, ephemeral, momentary, fugitive, fleeting, evanescent, short lived are comparable when they mean lasting or staying only for a short time. Transient and transitory are often used as if they were interchangeable; …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Transient — bzw. Transienz, teilweise nur als Adjektiv transient (engl. „vorübergehend“, alle zu lat. transire vorbeigehen) steht: im Ingenieurwesen allgemein für den statistischen Begriff instationär in der Informatik für zeitlich begrenzt in den Speicher… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • transient — [tran′shənt, tran′sē ənt; tran′zhənt, tran′zē ənt] adj. [L transiens, prp. of transire: see TRANSIT] 1. a) passing away with time; not permanent; temporary; transitory b) passing quickly or soon; fleeting; ephemeral ☆ 2. staying only for a short… …   English World dictionary

  • transient — (adj.) c.1600, from L. transiens (acc. transientem) passing over or away, prp. of transire cross over, pass away, from trans across (see TRANS (Cf. trans )) + ire to go (see ION (Cf. ion)). The noun is first attested 1650s; specific sense of …   Etymology dictionary

  • transient — ► ADJECTIVE 1) lasting only for a short time. 2) staying or working in a place for a short time only. ► NOUN ▪ a transient person. DERIVATIVES transience noun transiency noun transiently adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • Transient — Tran sient, n. That which remains but for a brief time. Glanvill. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Transĭent — (lat.), der Gegensatz zu »immanent« (s. d. und Transĕunt) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • transient — I adjective brevis, brief, caducous, deciduous, elusive, ephemeral, ephemerous, evanescent, fading, fleeting, fluxus, fugacious, fugax, fugitive, hasty, impermanent, inconstant, interim, meteoric, migratory, momentary, passing, perishable,… …   Law dictionary

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