I was looking for a noun to describe a temporary state for something, and unsurprisingly found "temporariness" in Merriam-Webster, defined as:

the state or quality of lasting only for a short time.


The temporariness of the job is probably the reason why so few people are applying for it.

I understand the above meaning of "temporariness" and its usage, but somehow it doesn't seem idiomatic to me. Maybe because I haven't seen it used anywhere, either colloquial or academic/formal.

And the synonyms listed by M-W don't help that much:

ephemerality, evanescence, fleetingness, fugitiveness, impermanence, impermanency, 
momentariness, transience, transiency, transitoriness

My intended usage:

I quoted a definition in my text that went like "That concept is considered as a basis for a time to provide [...]."

Now, as a reference to the above definition, I wanted to say "The [temporariness?] of the the concept is an important aspect, which we often overlook in its definition"

So, is there a more idomatic alternative to this word?

  • Could you give an example sentence of how you want to use this word. I understand the example in your post is an example from M-W. The best solution is probably to avoid the noun and use an adjective, but I'd like to see the sentence that you are trying to form. The synonyms you list all seem good to me. Why do you say that they "don't help much"?
    – James K
    Aug 25, 2020 at 20:45
  • @JamesK I added my intended use. By "don't help much" I meant the same as 'temporariness', I have never encountered them in the texts.
    – Mahm00d
    Aug 26, 2020 at 8:02

3 Answers 3


You can use those nouns, they are rare (because usually we'd use the adjective) but they are all valid words. "Impermanence" would seem to fit your context quite well.

However we do prefer the adjective:

The concept is temporary, which is an important aspect which we often overlook in its definition.

(or impermanent, transitory, ephemeral, or not permanent etc)


I would know what the word “temporariness” meant if I heard it, but I would restructure the sentence so I didn’t need to say it myself:

  • Few people are applying for the job, probably because it’s temporary.

I'm not sure this is the direction you want to go, but maybe something like short-livedness, briefness or shortness would be appropriate?

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