Choose the right word
temporary, ephemeral, evanescent, fleeting, transient, transitory
Things that don't last long are called temporary, which emphasizes a measurable but limited duration ( a temporary appointment as chief of staff ). Something that is fleeting passes almost instantaneously and cannot be caught or held ( a fleeting thought ; a fleeting glimpse ). Transient also applies to something that lasts or stays only a short time ( transient house guests ), while transitory refers to something that is destined to pass away or come to an end ( the transitory pleasure of eating ). Evanescent and ephemeral describe what is even more short-lived. Ephemeral literally means 'lasting for only a single day,' but is often used to describe anything that is slight and perishable ( his fame was ephemeral ). Evanescent is a more lyrical word for whatever vanishes almost as soon as it appears. In other words, a job might be temporary, an emotion fleeting, a visitor transient, a woman's beauty transitory, and glory ephemeral, but the flash of a bird's wing across the sky would have to be called evanescent.