Definition of ephemera in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfem(ə)rə/

plural noun

1Things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.
Example sentences
  • If you're an aficionado of arcane ephemera, you'll enjoy flipping through this at least once.
  • Load up on cool ephemera and tacky souvenirs: NYPD snow domes, stick-on bullet holes, match books, carrier bags, free postcards, anything that says I heart NY.
  • They were part of our lifetime, and their ephemera exists, pristine and whole, not yet chipped or broken, faulty with age, and to me, they are proof positive that monsters are real.
1.1Items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity: Mickey Mouse ephemera
More example sentences
  • In effect, therefore, each participant was left to decide whether ‘snapshot’ constituted a category of one's own camera activity, a variety of keepsake, or a genre of collectible ephemera.
  • As an ephemera collector from way back, I am particular vexed by the suggestion that history holds negligible value in a culture dominated by technological excess.
  • This show of some 165 prints and related ephemera is the first in-depth assessment of the artist's work.


Late 16th century: plural of ephemeron. Current use has been influenced by plurals such as trivia and memorabilia.

  • An ephemera or ephemeron was originally a fever lasting only one day, an insect with a very short lifespan, or a plant thought to last a day. Some ancient writers thought there were two plants of this name, one that sprang up and died in a day, the other that carried a poison causing death within a day. The word was then applied to a person or thing of short-lived interest. It appeared in its current plural sense in the 1930s, to describe items like tickets, posters, and greetings cards that were of no enduring value except to collectors. Ephemera and its contemporary ephemeral ‘lasting for a very short time’, are from Greek ephēmeros ‘lasting only a day’, from hēmera ‘day’.

Words that rhyme with ephemera


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: e·phem·er·a

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