The Meaning of Fleeting: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of fleeting? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word fleeting, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word fleeting mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, the word fleeting is an adjective that means passing swiftly or transitory. The pronunciation of fleeting is ˈfliːtɪŋ. Something that is fleeting is only in existence or around for a brief time or momentary glimpse. Try making flashcards, giving yourself quizzes, or using the word fleeting in a sentence today to memorize its definition. There are many different ways that someone can learn a new word and make sure that they remember its definition. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean fleeting. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates. Cognates are usually formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of fleeting is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Portuguese: fugaz‎
  •  Bulgarian: преходен‎, бързо преминаващ‎
  •  Polish: przelotny‎, nikły‎
  •  Italian: fugace‎, sfuggevole‎, sfuggente‎
  •  Finnish: ohikiitävä‎, hetkellinen‎, haihtuva‎, katoavainen‎
  •  Armenian: թռուցիկ‎, վաղանցիկ‎, կարճատեւ‎
  •  Mandarin: 飛逝‎, 飞逝‎, 短暫‎, 短暂‎
  •  Bokmål: flyktig‎
  •  Czech: prchavý‎ (masc.)
  •  Spanish: fugaz‎
  •  Maori: māngina‎, mōngina‎:
  •  German: flüchtig‎
  •  Swedish: flyktig‎
  •  Russian: мимолётный‎, скороте́чный‎
  •  Hebrew: בן חלוף‎ (bén khalóf), בת חלוף‎ (bát khalóf)
  •  Romanian: fugaci‎, fugitiv‎
  •  Icelandic: skammær‎ (masc.), hverfull‎ (masc.), augnablik‎
  •  Greek: πρόσκαιρος‎, εφήμερος‎
  •  Japanese: 儚い‎
  •  Georgian: წარმავალი‎, წამიერი‎, სწრაფი‎, დროებითი‎, გარდამავალი‎, დრომოკლე‎, წამიერი‎, წუთიერი‎, სწრაფმდინარი‎, სწრაფმავალი‎
  •  French: fugace‎, éphémère‎
  •  Ukrainian: швидкоплинний‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: fuadain‎, siùbhlach‎
  •  Nynorsk: flyktig‎ 

How can the word fleeting be used in a sentence?

The word fleeting (adj.) can be used in many different sentences in natural sounding English. Using a word in a sentence is a great way to memorize its definition. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. You never know, it might become one of your new favorites. Below are many examples of fleeting. 

Carol took a fleeting glimpse at the city of Paris from 30,000 feet in the air as the setting sun cast a fleeting gold glow on the city. She hoped with sadness that someday she would be able to fly to France to stay. 

Julie Stewart only had her married name for a fleeting moment of time before realizing that this was not the man for her. Less than a week after being married to the man, she decided to get a lawyer who could help her annul the marriage. Both her family and her husband’s family were livid, but she could not go on living this lie. 

In the utter stillness of the cool night air, he had the fleeting temptation to leave his whole life behind, deactivate his Twitter and Facebook accounts, and go start a new life in a new country. 

She took a fleeting meeting with the administration at Princeton University. She thought that they would ask her questions about her resume, but they did a rapid momentaneous association of things instead.

The fugitive hours of visiting were fleeting hours. She wished that she could pay her father more than a fleeting visit, but the warden did not allow it. He kept a close eye on them from a specific point of view of a space in the prison.

Romeo and Juliet were only in a relationship for but a fleeting moment because of the conflict between their two families. Perhaps if there was not such strife between the Capulets and the Montagues, these two could have lived happily ever after.

What is the origin of the word fleeting?

According to Etymonline, the word fleeting has been used since the early 13th century in Middle English. This comes from the Old English fleotende meaning floating, drifting, or moving swiftly. This comes from the present participle of fleotan, an Old English verb meaning to float or flow. The word fleeting has been used to mean existing briefly since the 1560s. One can add the suffix ly in addition to ing to fleeting to make a related word, the adverb fleetingly. The noun form of fleeting is fleet.

What are synonyms and antonyms for fleeting?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word fleeting. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself when speaking or writing as well as to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word fleeting is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  vanishing
  •  fugitive
  •  ephemeral
  •  meteoric
  •  momentary
  •  cursory
  •  transient
  •  fugacious
  •  fading
  •  brief
  •  flitting
  •  sudden
  •  volatile
  •  temporary
  •  short
  •  flash in the pan
  •  evanescent
  •  passing
  •  flying
  •  impermanent
  •  transitory
  •  short-lived

There are also a number of different words that mean the opposite of the word fleeting. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word fleeting is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  everlasting
  •  in for the long haul
  •  continual
  •  lasting
  •  inexpungible
  •  longstanding
  •  stable
  •  permanent
  •  perpetual
  •  indissoluble
  •  constant
  •  old
  •  durable
  •  unending
  •  incessant
  •  deep-rooted
  •  lifelong
  •  till the cows come home
  •  unceasing
  •  enduring
  •  abiding
  •  forever
  •  perdurable
  •  continuing
  •  endless
  •  long-term
  •  unremitting
  •  eternal
  •  undying
  •  persisting
  •  perennial
  •  indelible
  •  inexhaustible

Overall, the word fleeting is an adjective that means transitory or passing by swiftly. This word is often used to refer to something that does not stay around for very long. The adverb form of the word fleeting is formed by adding the suffix ly to the word fleeting, which creates the word fleetingly. 


  1. FLEETING Synonyms: 30 Synonyms & Antonyms for FLEETING | Thesaurus 
  2. LASTING Synonyms: 39 Synonyms & Antonyms for LASTING | Thesaurus 
  3. fleeting: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. fleeting | Origin and meaning of fleeting | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Fleeting | Definition of Fleeting | Merriam-Webster