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transient

[tran-shuhnt, -zhuhnt, -zee-uhnt]
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adjective
  1. not lasting, enduring, or permanent; transitory.
  2. lasting only a short time; existing briefly; temporary: transient authority.
  3. staying only a short time: the transient guests at a hotel.
  4. Philosophy. transeunt.
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noun
  1. a person or thing that is transient, especially a temporary guest, boarder, laborer, or the like.
  2. Mathematics.
    1. a function that tends to zero as the independent variable tends to infinity.
    2. a solution, especially of a differential equation, having this property.
  3. Physics.
    1. a nonperiodic signal of short duration.
    2. a decaying signal, wave, or oscillation.
  4. Electricity. a sudden pulse of voltage or current.
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Origin of transient

1590–1600; < Latin transi(ēns) (nominative singular), present participle of transīre to pass by, literally, go across + -ent; see transeunt
Related formstran·sient·ly, adverbtran·sient·ness, nounnon·tran·sient, adjectivenon·tran·sient·ly, adverbnon·tran·sient·ness, nounun·tran·sient, adjectiveun·tran·sient·ly, adverbun·tran·sient·ness, noun

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

Related Words

ephemeralfleetingtransitoryshort-termflashtemporalflyingbrieffugitiveshortvolatilepassingfly-by-nightchangeableevanescentflittingimpermanentinsubstantialmomentarymoving

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British Dictionary definitions for transient

transient

adjective
  1. for a short time only; temporary or transitory
  2. philosophy a variant of transeunt
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noun
  1. a transient person or thing
  2. physics a brief change in the state of a system, such as a sudden short-lived oscillation in the current flowing through a circuit
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Derived Formstransiently, adverbtransience or transiency, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin transiēns going over, from transīre to pass over, from trans- + īre to go
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 transient

adj.

c.1600, from Latin transiens (accusative transientem) "passing over or away," present participle of transire "cross over, pass away," from trans- "across" (see trans-) + ire "to go" (see ion). The noun is first attested 1650s; specific sense of "transient guest or boarder" first recorded 1880.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper