From stem of Latin transiens, present participle of transire (to go over, to pass)


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɹæn.zi.ənt/
  • (file)


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, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 3, page 27:
      Taking advantage of the surprise, which assured him at least transient attention, he continued, addressing himself particularly to Evelyn.
  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 termsEdit



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, Virago Press, paperback edition, 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, historical) 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.