Word of Week (WOW) – Ephemeral

wow (1)

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week. To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link).

I’m looking at the letter E this week.

So here is my WOW for this week: 




e·phem·er·al  [ih-fem-er-uh-l]



Part of Speech


Related Forms:

Adverb: ephemerally

Noun: ephemeralness; ephemerality


  1.  Lasting for a markedly brief time:

Eating the chocolate ice-cream was an ephemeral pleasure in Ellie’s otherwise hectic day.

2.  Having a short lifespan or a short annual period of aboveground growth. Used especially of plants – as in chickweed:

Chickweed is known as an ephemeral weed because it produces several generations in one season.

Stellaria Media Common Chickweed. Author: Lazaregadnizda. Wikimedia Commons

Stellaria Media Common Chickweed. Author: Lazaregadnizda. Wikimedia Commons

3.  Noun: Anything that is short-lived, as certain insects – like mayflies.

Mayflies emerge from the water and live for only 24 hours – in which time they must mate and the female lay the eggs on the surface of the water. If enough of them appear at the same time, as in some species, they create a swarm.

Mayfly swarming on Tisza Author: Kovacs,sziland. Commons

Mayfly swarming on Tisza. Author: Kovacs,sziland. Commons

Word Origin:

1570-80; from the Greek ephḗmer (os) meaning short-lived, lasting but a day


evanescent, transient, momentary, brief, fleeting, impermanent, fugitive, passing, brief, temporary, transitory, short-lived, fugacious, short



Use in a Sentence:

  1. The blaze of colour along the valley seemed all the more wonderful to the hikers because it was so ephemeral: choice-975832_1280 (2)

2. Lucy gazed at the old photo of two models wearing 1930’s style swimsuits, considering how fashions were so ephemeral: new ones come in and old ones disappear, perhaps to be reintroduced at a later date:

Fashion Photo: Bathing Suit, Modell Schenk. Circa 1930. Author: Yva (1900-1942). Public Domain: Wikimedia Commons

Fashion Photo: Bathing Suit, Modell Schenk. Circa 1930. Author: Yva (1900-1942). Public Domain: Wikimedia Commons

3. For my third example ‘sentence’ I have concocted this little tale, in which I have attempted to use the various forms of this week’s WOW:


King Eldrin of Elf Land glared at his daughter, Elinora, her pretty face marred by yet another ephemeral scowl. Desperately wanting the wilful young princess out of his hair, he hoped one of today’s contenders would suit her style.

But Elinora had rejected several suitors already, her affections as ephemeral as the beautiful daylilies adorning Eldrin’s palace grounds.

Red and yellow daylily, called a Red Magic Lily. Author: Victorrocha. Commons.

Red and yellow daylily, called a Red Magic Lily. Author: Victorrocha. Commons.

The ephemerality of Elinora’s affections worried King Eldrin, as his daughter was rapidly leaving her youth behind. His worried subjects would soon be assigning her spinster status. He understood too well the ephemeralness of beauty. One only had to look at his wife, Queen Ermintrude, whose rare beauty had rapidly deteriorated post wedlock. Before long she had begun to resemble the cow* after whom she was named.

Today, a handsome young prince named Elandorr would attempt to engage Elinora in ephemerally interesting conversation. As long as it held the girl’s attention for an hour, Eldrin would declare him the victor in this marriage game, as previously arranged. With a bit of luck, Elinora and her ephemeral nature would henceforth be Elandorr’s problem.

shutterstock_275929637* Ermintrude was the name of the cow in the 1960’s cartoon series called The Magic Roundabout – since made into a film. Ermintrude was really quite sweet, so I mean no offence to her! All the pictures I could find of her were copyright, hence I’ve none to show here. 😦

If you’d like to view more interesting words, visit Heena’s Page

Word Treasure

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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22 Responses to Word of Week (WOW) – Ephemeral

  1. J.C. Wolfe says:

    I love this word! It was one of the first featured in my Word of the Week segment. I think it sounds so poetic. Words that come from Greek are beautiful! 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      It is a pretty word. I almost did it on my first time through the alphabet but did ethereal instead. (I probably mentioned that before!) That you picked it too shows how lovely the word is. 🙂

  2. exiledprospero says:

    The ephemeral joy of witnessing a vainglorious sunset disappearing behind a snow-capped mountain is surpassed only by the ephemeral joy of invoking such an incandescent sight within the bosom of fiction.

  3. Bekki Hill says:

    I love this word too. Such a magical feel to it 🙂

  4. nice word and awesome post! It is great to hear it, see how it can be used in so many ways and know the proper way to use it was well! Thanks Millie!

  5. Thank you for the new word! and may i have that ice cream please?

  6. Big long word only used for a second .

  7. I love this word, both the look and feel of it and its meaning

  8. Such beautiful word with gorgeous pronunciation! ❤ The photo with a woman eating an ice-cream was a perfect example. I'll think of this word when I eat ice-cream next time . 😉 Thank you very much for sharing Millie! ❤ 🙂

  9. honestme363 says:

    Thank you for the educational lesson today Millie; the word, the chickweed and the mayfly were all new to me! And a very cute story that tied the definitions together. 😊

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