lasting, existing, serving, or effective for a time only; not permanent: a temporary need; a temporary job.

noun, plural tem·po·rar·ies.

an office worker hired, usually through an agency on a per diem basis, for a short period of time.

Origin of temporary

1540–50; < Latin temporārius, equivalent to tempor- (stem of tempus) time + -ārius -ary
Related formstem·po·rar·i·ly [tem-puh-rair-uh-lee, tem-puh-rer-] /ˌtɛm pəˈrɛər ə li, ˈtɛm pəˌrɛr-/, adverbtem·po·rar·i·ness, nounnon·tem·po·rar·i·ly, adverbnon·tem·po·rar·i·ness, nounnon·tem·po·rar·y, adjectiveun·tem·po·rar·y, adjective

Synonyms for temporary

1. impermanent, passing. Temporary, transient, transitory agree in referring to that which is not lasting or permanent. Temporary implies an arrangement established with no thought of continuance but with the idea of being changed soon: a temporary structure. Transient describes that which is in the process of passing by, and which will therefore last or stay only a short time: a transient condition. Transitory describes an innate characteristic by which a thing, by its very nature, lasts only a short time: Life is transitory.

Antonyms for temporary

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

Examples from the Web for temporary

Contemporary Examples of temporary

Historical Examples of temporary

  • God has never, as far as we can see, dealt in special and temporary gifts.

  • The men were preparing their breakfast, and a temporary halt had been called for that purpose.

  • He probably thought this first home so temporary it didn't count.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Longfellow's Skeleton in Armor has revealed their temporary settlement.

  • Perhaps this fit was only temporary, and will not come again for a long time.

British Dictionary definitions for temporary



not permanent; provisionaltemporary accommodation
lasting only a short time; transitorytemporary relief from pain

noun plural -raries

a person, esp a secretary or other office worker, employed on a temporary basisOften shortened to: temp
Derived Formstemporarily, adverbtemporariness, noun

Word Origin for temporary

C16: from Latin temporārius, from tempus time
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 temporary

1540s, from Latin temporarius "of seasonal character, lasting a short time," from tempus (genitive temporis) "time, season" (see temporal). The noun meaning "person employed only for a time" is recorded from 1848.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper