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From Middle English fleten (to float), from Old English flēotan (to float), from Proto-Germanic *fleutaną, from Proto-Indo-European *plewd-.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfliːtɪŋ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːtɪŋ


fleeting (comparative more fleeting, superlative most fleeting)

  1. Passing quickly; of short duration.
    Synonyms: transient, ephemeral; see also Thesaurus:ephemeral
    • 1931, Martha Kinross, “The Screen — From This Side”, in The Fortnightly, volume 130, page 511:
      Architecture, sculpture, painting are static arts. Even in literature "our flying minds," as George Meredith says, cannot contain protracted description. It is so; for from sequences of words they must assemble all the details in one simultaneous impression. But moments of fleeting beauty too transient to be caught by any means less swift than light itself are registered on the screen.
    • 2003, Gabrielle Walker, Snowball Earth: The Story of a Maverick Scientist and His Theory of the Global Catastrophe That Spawned Life As We Know It, Three Rivers Press, →ISBN, pages 34–35:
      During the fleeting summer months of his field season, when the outer vestiges of winter melted briefly, there were ponds and pools and lakes of water everywhere.
    • 2008, Barbara L. Bellman, Susan Goldstein, Flirting After Fifty: Lessons for Grown-Up Women on How to Find Love Again, iUniverse, published 2008, →ISBN, page 12:
      For starters, we see examples all the time of some middle-aged men trying to hang onto their own fleeting youth by sporting younger women on their arms.
    • 2010, Leslie Ludy, The Lost Art of True Beauty: The Set-Apart Girl's Guide to Feminine Grace, Harvest House Publishers, published 2010, →ISBN, page 5:
      And I am inspired afresh to pursue the stunning beauty of Christ rather than the fleeting beauty of this world.




fleeting (uncountable)

  1. (US, rail transport) An automatic operation mode of an absolute signal that reserves a route for several trains following one another, without the need for dispatcher to re-set the route for each train.




  1. present participle and gerund of fleet