- passing swiftly; vanishing quickly; transient; transitory: fleeting beauty; a fleeting glance.
Origin of fleeting
SynonymsSee more synonyms for fleeting on Thesaurus.com
- swift; rapid: to be fleet of foot; a fleet horse.
- to move swiftly; fly.
- Nautical. to change position; shift.
- to glide along like a stream.
- to fade; vanish.
- Obsolete. to float; drift; swim.
- to cause (time) to pass lightly or swiftly.
- to move or change the position of.
- to separate the blocks of (a tackle).
- to lay (a rope) along a deck.
Origin of fleet2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for fleet on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for fleeting
Fleeting moments are captured and stored, whether we want them to be or not.Public Marriage Proposals Must Die
December 28, 2014
Part of the problem is that its prevalence was equally as fleeting as a smile itself.The French Court’s Royal Ban on Smiles
December 14, 2014
What had seemed immutable and eternal (“With the Soviet Union forever”) turned out to be a fleeting episode.How Havel Inspired the Velvet Revolution
December 6, 2014
Those of us who live here are a fickle bunch with fleeting attention spans.Catch Him If You Can: Reliving Banksy’s New York Invasion
November 14, 2014
That fleeting comedic moment exemplifies Aidy Bryant at her best.How Aidy Bryant Stealthily Became Your Favorite ‘Saturday Night Live’ Star
October 31, 2014
Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique.
The girl looked up for a second with another of her fleeting, stealthy glances.Within the Law
I was palsied with doubt, and the golden moments were fleeting, were fleeting.The Bacillus of Beauty
Oh, there had been moments all the sweeter and more poignant because they had been so fleeting.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
In such a scene none had leisure to note the fleeting moments.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
- rapid and transienta fleeting glimpse of the sea
- a number of warships organized as a tactical unit
- all the warships of a nation
- a number of aircraft, ships, buses, etc, operating together or under the same ownership
- rapid in movement; swift
- poetic fleeting; transient
- (intr) to move rapidly
- (intr) archaic to fade away smoothly; glide
- (tr) nautical
- to change the position of (a hawser)
- to pass (a messenger or lead) to a hawser from a winch for hauling in
- to spread apart (the blocks of a tackle)
- (intr) obsolete to float or swim
- (tr) obsolete to cause (time) to pass rapidly
- mainly Southeast English a small coastal inlet; creek
- a stream that formerly ran into the Thames between Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street and is now a covered sewer
- Also called: Fleet Prison (formerly) a London prison, esp used for holding debtors
Word Origin and History for fleeting
early 13c., "fickle, shifting, unstable," from Old English fleotende "floating, drifting," later "flying, moving swiftly," from present participle of fleotan (see fleet (v.)). Meaning "existing only briefly" is from 1560s.
"swift," 1520s, but probably older than the record; apparently from or cognate with Old Norse fliotr "swift," and from the root of fleet (v.)). Related: Fleetness.
Old English fleotan "to float, drift, flow, swim, sail," later (c.1200) "to flow," from Proto-Germanic *fleut- (cf. Old Frisian fliata, Old Saxon fliotan "to flow," Old High German fliozzan "to float, flow," German flieszen "to flow," Old Norse fliota "to float, flow"), from PIE root *pleu- "to flow, run, swim" (see pluvial).
Meaning "to glide away like a stream, vanish imperceptibly" is from c.1200; hence "to fade, to vanish" (1570s). Related: Fleeted; fleeting.
Old English fleot "ship, raft, floating vessel," from fleotan "to float" (see fleet (v.)). Sense of "naval force" is pre-1200. The Old English word also meant "creek, inlet, flow of water," especially one into the Thames near Ludgate Hill, which lent its name to Fleet Street (home of newspaper and magazine houses, standing for "the English press" since 1882), Fleet prison, etc.