Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Vanishing, disappearing.
  • adj. Ephemeral, momentary, fleeting.
  • adj. Barely there; almost imperceptible.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Liable to vanish or pass away like vapor; vanishing; fleeting.
  • adj. Vanishing from notice; imperceptible.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Vanishing, or apt to vanish or be dissipated, like vapor; passing away; fleeting: as, the pleasures and joys of life are evanescent.
  • Lessening or lessened beyond the reach of perception; impalpable; imperceptible.
  • In natural history, unstable; unfixed; hence, uncertain; unreliable: applied to characters which are not fixed or uniformly present, and therefore are valueless for scientific classification.
  • In entomology, tending to become obsolete in one part; fading out: as, antennal scrobes evanescent posteriorly.
  • In mathematics, infinitesimal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. tending to vanish like vapor

Etymologies

From Latin ēvānēscēns ("vanishing, disappearing") (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • She rubbed and curtsied, caressing the planks, making evanescent designs of herself against the darkness of the water.

    Anne Bosworth Greene, "Lambs of March"

    July 25, 2011

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    July 25, 2011

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    July 25, 2011

  • "The similarity between the evanescent greetings of the Duchesse de Lambresac and those of my grandmother's friends had begun to arouse my interest by showing me how in all narrow and closed societies, be they those of the minor gentry or of the great nobility, the old manners persist, enabling us to recapture, like an archaeologist, something of the upbringing, and the ethos it reflects, that prevailed in the days of the Vicomte d'Arlincourt and Loiisa Puget."
    --Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 110 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    February 3, 2009

  • "Adrift in a new world of often devastating change, they found meaning in the shifting light on a river at dawn, or the evanescent flash of a hummingbird's flight."
    - A Summer of Hummingbirds by Christopher Benfey, p 4

    October 15, 2008

  • ev-uh-nes-uhnt ~adjective 1. vanishing; fading away; fleeting.
    2. tending to become imperceptible; scarcely perceptible.

    September 22, 2008

  • This seems to be Latin in contrast to the Greek ephemeral.

    September 12, 2008