1. Lasting for a markedly brief time: "There remain some truths too ephemeral to be captured in the cold pages of a court transcript" (Irving R. Kaufman).
2. Having a short lifespan or a short annual period of aboveground growth. Used especially of plants.
Something, especially a plant, that is ephemeral.
[From Greek ephēmeros : ep-, epi-, epi- + hēmerā, day.]
e·phem′er·ali·ty, e·phemer·al·ness n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.