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I am writing a paper about fair division. When we divide, say, a piece of land among us, the division may be fair in the time of division, but may seem unfair at a later time, for example, if oil is found in one of the land-plots.

I am looking for a single word (a noun) that emphasizes the fact that a division is fair only in a specific point in time. Using Google translate, I found "momentariness", "instantaneity", "temporariness", but, I don't which of these words, if any, fits the context.

An example paragraph: "Our third assumption is _____________. This means that, when we check the fairness of a certain division procedure, we only check that the division is fair at the time it is made. We do not require that it remains fair forever."

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    None of those words are particularly common and might sound odd depending on the context. I think it would help if you provided an example sentence. – starsplusplus Feb 21 '14 at 9:02
  • transient? ephemeral? - looking at the title of the question though. – Maulik V Feb 21 '14 at 9:31
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    Though many words could be used there, I personally like a simple word such as temporal, in a sense that "the assumption is temporal" means the division is fair as long as it is fair. – Damkerng T. Feb 21 '14 at 12:55
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If an example sentence were provided, looking for an answer would be easier, but I like the word "transience". The adjective 'transient' related to it may be used in a construction like "transient nature of", the word nature being the core noun there:

"The transient nature of any value fixed to a piece of land makes it impossible to make sure that any division scheme fair at the moment would still be be fair after some time has passed".

There are synonyms for transience like ephemerality, fugacity, but they belong more to the belles-lettres style of writing.

Related words: unreliability, unpredictability, inconstancy, impermanence. These may be 'adjectivized' and used in constructions like "unreliable nature/character of...".

  • Thanks. I added an example paragraph. I think "impermanence" is the best fit. What do you think? – Erel Segal-Halevi Feb 21 '14 at 11:57
  • @ErelSegalHalevi: Looks fine to me, but mind that I'm not a native speaker. – CowperKettle Feb 21 '14 at 12:33
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"Our third assumption is contemporary."

Contemporary indicates that something is correct within a given time-frame and this suits your example.

It is sometimes used for an implicit current time-frame to indicate that something is modern but as your example goes on to explain the time-frame this misunderstanding would not occur.

  • This is an adjective... maybe you meant "contemporariness" or something like this? – Erel Segal-Halevi Feb 21 '14 at 13:30
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    Contemporary actually refers to something in a current context, which is not what you are trying to convey. I think another word choice would be preferable. – David W Feb 21 '14 at 18:41

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