ephemeral

[ ih-fem-er-uhl ]
/ ɪˈfɛm ər əl /

adjective

lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood.
lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower.

noun

anything short-lived, as certain insects.

Nearby words

  1. ephebus,
  2. ephedra,
  3. ephedrine,
  4. ephelis,
  5. ephemera,
  6. ephemerality,
  7. ephemerid,
  8. ephemeris,
  9. ephemeris second,
  10. ephemeris time

Origin of ephemeral

1570–80; < Greek ephḗmer(os) short-lived, lasting but a day (ep- ep- + hēmér(a) day + -os adj. suffix) + -al1

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ephemeral


British Dictionary definitions for ephemeral

ephemeral

/ (ɪˈfɛmərəl) /

adjective

lasting for only a short time; transitory; short-livedephemeral pleasure

noun

a short-lived organism, such as the mayfly
a plant that completes its life cycle in less than one year, usually less than six months
Derived Formsephemerally, adverbephemerality or ephemeralness, noun

Word Origin for ephemeral

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

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

Word Origin and History for ephemeral

ephemeral

adj.

1560s; see ephemera + -al (1). Related: Ephemerality. Originally of diseases and lifespans; extended sense of "transitory" is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper