[ ih-fem-er-uhl ]
See synonyms for ephemeral on Thesaurus.com
  1. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: The poem celebrates the ephemeral joys of childhood.

  2. (of flowers or insects) lasting only a few days or less: Lily of the valley is an ephemeral flower.

  1. being of temporary value or passing interest: She had a scrapbook full of ephemeral news clippings about forgotten events.

  2. Computers.

    • being or relating to messages, images, or other data that are written to temporary or virtual storage only, and are therefore liable to change or be lost unless copied to permanent storage immediately or within a very short time: Snapchat is an ephemeral messaging app.

    • being or relating to a temporary storage medium, especially a virtual one: In case of a hardware failure this data will be lost, as it is only stored locally on an ephemeral drive.

  1. anything short-lived, such as certain flowers and insects.

Origin of ephemeral

First recorded in 1570–80; from Greek ephḗmer(os) “short-lived, lasting a day” (from ep- ep- + hēmér(a) “day” + -os, adjective suffix) + -al1

Other words for ephemeral

Opposites for ephemeral

Other words from ephemeral

  • e·phem·er·al·ly, adverb
  • e·phem·er·al·ness, noun
  • non·e·phem·er·al, adjective
  • non·e·phem·er·al·ly, adverb
  • un·e·phem·er·al, adjective
  • un·e·phem·er·al·ly, adverb

Words Nearby ephemeral

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ephemeral in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ephemeral


/ (ɪˈfɛmərəl) /

  1. lasting for only a short time; transitory; short-lived: ephemeral pleasure

  1. a short-lived organism, such as the mayfly

  2. a plant that completes its life cycle in less than one year, usually less than six months

Origin of ephemeral

C16: from Greek ephēmeros lasting only a day, from hēmera day

Derived forms of ephemeral

  • ephemerally, adverb
  • ephemerality or ephemeralness, noun

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