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[tran-si-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, -zi-] /ˈtræn sɪˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, -zɪ-/
not lasting, enduring, permanent, or eternal.
lasting only a short time; brief; short-lived; temporary.
Origin of transitory
1325-75; Middle English transitorie < Late Latin trānsitōrius fleeting (see transit, -tory1); replacing Middle English transitoire < Middle French < Late Latin, as above
Related forms
[tran-si-tawr-uh-lee, -tohr-, tran-si-tawr-, -tohr-, -zi-] /ˈtræn sɪˌtɔr ə li, -ˌtoʊr-, ˌtræn sɪˈtɔr-, -ˈtoʊr-, -zɪ-/ (Show IPA),
transitoriness, noun
untransitorily, adverb
untransitoriness, noun
untransitory, adjective
2. See temporary.
2. permanent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for transitory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Hence every world culture whose basis is a unity of language, in the sense of a world language, is doomed to be transitory.

  • The effect of his words, on me, was neither slight nor transitory.

    My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass
  • Let us see if our pleasure is stable or transitory, if it pass away, it is a river of Babylon.

  • Prefer knowledge to wealth; for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.

    How to Succeed Orison Swett Marden
  • The transitory amazement of a few relatives was a meager consolation for the doubts and agonies of nine slow months.

    Carnival Compton Mackenzie
  • Every impulse given to the masses is, in its nature, spasmodic and transitory.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The inns which devote themselves to the entertainment of mere travellers are called the taverns of the transitory Guests.

  • The doctor, whom she met there, said that this state of calm was very possibly only transitory.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
British Dictionary definitions for transitory


/ˈtrænsɪtərɪ; -trɪ/
of short duration; transient or ephemeral
Derived Forms
transitorily, adverb
transitoriness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Church Latin transitōrius passing, from Latin transitus a crossing over; see transient
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 transitory

late 14c., from Old French transitoire (12c.), from Late Latin transitorius "passing, transient," from Latin, "allowing passage through," from transitus, past participle of transire "go or cross over" (see transient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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