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fleeting

[flee-ting] /ˈfli tɪŋ/
adjective
1.
passing swiftly; vanishing quickly; transient; transitory:
fleeting beauty; a fleeting glance.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English; see fleet2, -ing2
Related forms
fleetingly, adverb
fleetingness, noun
unfleeting, adjective
Synonyms
passing, flitting, flying, brief, fugitive.

fleet2

[fleet] /flit/
adjective, fleeter, fleetest.
1.
swift; rapid:
to be fleet of foot; a fleet horse.
verb (used without object)
2.
to move swiftly; fly.
3.
Nautical. to change position; shift.
4.
Archaic.
  1. to glide along like a stream.
  2. to fade; vanish.
5.
Obsolete. to float; drift; swim.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cause (time) to pass lightly or swiftly.
7.
Nautical.
  1. to move or change the position of.
  2. to separate the blocks of (a tackle).
  3. to lay (a rope) along a deck.
Origin
before 900; Middle English fleten to be fleet, Old English flēotan to float; see float
Related forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Synonyms
6. speed, hasten; beguile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for fleeting
  • They know people who have either been murdered or kidnapped for fleeting political gain.
  • fleeting glances conveying warmth cannot sustain the relationship.
  • Swift scans the skies, constantly observing, always on its toes for that fleeting blast of high-energy light.
  • fleeting sea and plant aromas are delightful signs of freshness in a fish.
  • But no one had empirical proof because gamma-ray bursts are so fleeting and difficult to pinpoint.
  • These are too fleeting to have lasted that long and are not at all unusual phenomena-A comet.
  • Read a detailed description of the mayfly's fleeting life cycle.
  • Unlike the changing season, a glimpse at these fall leaves won't be fleeting.
  • His photographs capture vivid images of fleeting moments or forms shaped over centuries.
  • Out of this tableau of darkness have come some fleeting rays of light.
British Dictionary definitions for fleeting

fleeting

/ˈfliːtɪŋ/
adjective
1.
rapid and transient a fleeting glimpse of the sea
Derived Forms
fleetingly, adverb
fleetingness, noun

fleet1

/fliːt/
noun
1.
a number of warships organized as a tactical unit
2.
all the warships of a nation
3.
a number of aircraft, ships, buses, etc, operating together or under the same ownership
Word Origin
Old English flēot ship, flowing water, from flēotan to float

fleet2

/fliːt/
adjective
1.
rapid in movement; swift
2.
(poetic) fleeting; transient
verb
3.
(intransitive) to move rapidly
4.
(intransitive) (archaic) to fade away smoothly; glide
5.
(transitive) (nautical)
  1. to change the position of (a hawser)
  2. to pass (a messenger or lead) to a hawser from a winch for hauling in
  3. to spread apart (the blocks of a tackle)
6.
(intransitive) (obsolete) to float or swim
7.
(transitive) (obsolete) to cause (time) to pass rapidly
Derived Forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Word Origin
probably Old English flēotan to float, glide rapidly; related to Old High German fliozzan to flow, Latin pluere to rain

fleet3

/fliːt/
noun
1.
(mainly Southeast English) a small coastal inlet; creek
Word Origin
Old English flēot flowing water; see fleet1

Fleet

/fliːt/
noun the Fleet
1.
a stream that formerly ran into the Thames between Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street and is now a covered sewer
2.
Also called Fleet Prison. (formerly) a London prison, esp used for holding debtors
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
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Word Origin and History for fleeting
adj.

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.

fleet

n.

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.

adj.

"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.

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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