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ephemeral

Something that is fleeting or short-lived is ephemeral, like a fly that lives for one day or text messages flitting from cellphone to cellphone.

Ephemeral (ə-FEM-ər-əl) was originally a medical term with the specific meaning "lasting only one day," as a fever or sickness (Hemera means "day" in Greek.) The word became more general, coming to mean "lasting a short time," covering the life spans of plants or insects and then eventually anything that is fleeting or transitory. A related word is the plural noun ephemera, meaning "things that are meant to last for only a short time." Posters for a rock concert are often ephemera, unless the band is so famous that they get saved and sold on eBay.

Definitions of ephemeral
  1. noun
    anything short-lived, as an insect that lives only for a day in its winged form
    synonyms: ephemeron
    see moresee less
    type of:
    insect
    small air-breathing arthropod
  2. adjective
    lasting a very short time
    “the ephemeral joys of childhood”
    synonyms: fugacious, passing, short-lived, transient, transitory
    impermanent, temporary
    not permanent; not lasting
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