• synonyms


  1. passing swiftly; vanishing quickly; transient; transitory: fleeting beauty; a fleeting glance.
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Origin of fleeting

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at fleet2, -ing2
Related formsfleet·ing·ly, adverbfleet·ing·ness, nounun·fleet·ing, adjective

Synonyms for fleeting

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fleetingness

Historical Examples of fleetingness

  • It was a little transient ray that had been sent athwart her darkness, and no one understood its fleetingness better than did she.

    Lily Pearl and The Mistress of Rosedale

    Ida Glenwood

  • The fleetingness of all earthly things vividly occurred to him.

  • He dwelt a great deal on the fleetingness of life, and the wisdom of making the best of its few charming things.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • I am afraid I was not overwhelmed with thoughts of the fleetingness of life or the horror of death.

British Dictionary definitions for fleetingness


  1. rapid and transienta fleeting glimpse of the sea
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Derived Formsfleetingly, adverbfleetingness, 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

Word Origin and History for fleetingness



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper