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From Late Latin transiēnt- (for classical transeunt-), stem of transiēns, present participle of transire (to go over, to pass).



transient (comparative more transient, superlative most transient)

  1. Passing or disappearing with time; transitory.
    a transient pleasure
  2. Remaining for only a brief time.
    a transient view of a landscape
    a transient disease
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter IV, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 27:
      Taking advantage of the surprise, which assured him at least transient attention, he continued, addressing himself particularly to Evelyn.
    • 1980 August 9, Robin Bechhofer, Emmy Goldknopf, “Class Reunion”, in Gay Community Journal, page 13:
      Traditionally, alumnae have more impact than students, whom the administration views as transient.
  3. (physics) Decaying with time, especially exponentially.
  4. (mathematics, stochastic processes, of a state) having a positive probability of being left and never being visited again.
  5. Occasional; isolated; one-off
  6. Passing through; passing from one person to another.
  7. (music) Intermediate.
  8. (philosophy) Operating beyond itself; having an external effect.



Derived terms[edit]



transient (plural transients)

  1. Something that is transient.
  2. (physics) A transient phenomenon, especially an electric current; a very brief surge.
  3. (acoustics) A relatively loud, non-repeating signal in an audio waveform that occurs very quickly, such as the attack of a snare drum.
  4. A person who passes through a place for a short time; a traveller; a migrant worker.
    • 1996, Janette Turner Hospital, Oyster, paperback edition, Virago Press, page 3:
      Then, within the space of a few months, there were more transients than there were locals, and the imbalance seemed morally wrong.
  5. A homeless person.
  6. (programming) A module that generally remains in memory only for a short time.
    • 1978, Computerworld, volume 12, number 25, page 26:
      The overhead in loading transients is a big time-waster.
    • 1990, Gary A. Stotts, DOS/VSE: Introduction to the Operating System, page 102:
      These areas function to single thread supervisor routines that are loaded as needed. The Logical Transient Area (LTA) processes $$B transients.
    • 2020, Brad Williams, Justin Tadlock, John James Jacoby, Professional WordPress Plugin Development, page 102:
      Like with setting and getting transients, WordPress packages a delete_transient() function for deleting a transient from the database.
  7. (Philippines) A homestay. (Can we add an example for this sense?)


Derived terms[edit]