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[tran-si-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, -zi-] /ˈtræn sɪˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, -zɪ-/
not lasting, enduring, permanent, or eternal.
lasting only a short time; brief; short-lived; temporary.
Origin of transitory
1325-75; Middle English transitorie < Late Latin trānsitōrius fleeting (see transit, -tory1); replacing Middle English transitoire < Middle French < Late Latin, as above
Related forms
[tran-si-tawr-uh-lee, -tohr-, tran-si-tawr-, -tohr-, -zi-] /ˈtræn sɪˌtɔr ə li, -ˌtoʊr-, ˌtræn sɪˈtɔr-, -ˈtoʊr-, -zɪ-/ (Show IPA),
transitoriness, noun
untransitorily, adverb
untransitoriness, noun
untransitory, adjective
2. permanent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for transitory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the strength of his constancy, the Pyramids seem to him recent and transitory.

    Nature Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • For this kingdom which is transitory and of the earth I do not greatly care.

    Henry the Sixth John Blacman
  • The effect of his words, on me, was neither slight nor transitory.

    My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass
  • All were as transitory as smoke, as illusionary as the opium-eater's mid-day dream.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
  • But if the mania arise from causes which are transitory, then there is no ground for alarm.

    The Physical Life of Woman: Dr. George H Napheys
  • Prefer knowledge to wealth; for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.

    How to Succeed Orison Swett Marden
  • Every impulse given to the masses is, in its nature, spasmodic and transitory.


    William Graham Sumner
  • Grief, with the Countess, was usually a passionate, but also a transitory feeling.

    Earl Hubert's Daughter Emily Sarah Holt
British Dictionary definitions for transitory


/ˈtrænsɪtərɪ; -trɪ/
of short duration; transient or ephemeral
Derived Forms
transitorily, adverb
transitoriness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Church Latin transitōrius passing, from Latin transitus a crossing over; see transient
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for transitory

late 14c., from Old French transitoire (12c.), from Late Latin transitorius "passing, transient," from Latin, "allowing passage through," from transitus, past participle of transire "go or cross over" (see transient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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