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.