evanescent
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ɛvəˈnɛs(ə)nt/, /iːvə-/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˌɛvəˈnɛsənt/
Adjective

evanescent

  1. disappearing#Adjective|Disappearing, vanishing#Adjective|vanishing.
    Synonyms: nonevanescent
    • 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Foot-prints on the Sea-shore”, in Twice-Told Tales, volume II, Boston, Mass.: James Munroe and Company, OCLC 731639315 ↗, page 314 ↗:
      The sea was each little bird's great playmate. [...] In their airy flutterings, they seemed to rest on the evanescent spray.
    • 1911, Anna Katharine Green, “The Danger Moment”, in Initials Only, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, OCLC 1238080 ↗, book II (As Seen by Detective Sweetwater), page 188 ↗:
      I trust your love which will work wonders; and I trust my own, which sprang at a look but only gathered strength and permanence when I found that the soul of the man I love bettered his outward attractions, making the ideal of my foolish girlhood seem as unsubstantial and evanescent as a dream in the glowing noontide.
    1. (electromagnetism) Of an oscillating electric or magnetic field#Noun|field: not propagating as an electromagnetic wave#Noun|wave but having its energy spatially concentrate#Verb|concentrated in the vicinity of its source#Noun|source.
    2. (mathematics) Of a number#Noun|number or value#Noun|value: diminishing to the point#Noun|point of reach#Verb|reaching zero as a limit#Noun|limit; infinitesimal.
      • 1729, Isaac Newton, “Section I. Of the Method of First and Last Ratio’s of Quantities, by the Help whereof We Demonstrate the Propositions that Follow.”, in Andrew Motte, transl., The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. [...] Translated into English […] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for Benjamin Motte, […], OCLC 723174213 ↗, book I (Of the Motion of Bodies), pages 54–55 ↗:
        [...] I choſe rather to reduce the demonſtrations of the following propoſitions to the firſt and laſt ſums and ratio's of naſcent and evaneſcent quantities, that is, to the limits of thoſe ſums and ratio's; [...] Perhaps it may be objected, that there is no ultimate proportion of evaneſcent quantities; becauſe the proportion, before the quantities have vaniſhed, is not the ultimate, and when they are vaniſhed, is none. [...] [B]y the ultimate ratio of evaneſcent quantities is to be underſtood the ratio of the quantities, not before they vaniſh, nor afterwards, but with which they vaniſh.
  2. Barely there; almost imperceptible.
    • 1888 January, Thomas Hardy, “The Withered Arm”, in Wessex Tales: Strange, Lively, and Commonplace [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London; New York, N.Y.: Macmillan and Co., published 1888, OCLC 911789333 ↗, page 64 ↗:
      Her face too was fresh in colour, but it was of a totally different quality—soft and evanescent, like the light under a heap of rose-petals.
    • 1906 January–October, Joseph Conrad, chapter VII, in The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale, London: Methuen & Co., […], published 1907, OCLC 270548466 ↗; The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (Collection of British Authors; 3995), copyright edition, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1907, OCLC 1107573959 ↗, page 139 ↗:
      While he was speaking the hands on the face of the clock behind the great man's back—a heavy, glistening affair of massive scrolls in the same dark marble as the mantelpiece, and with a ghostly, evanescent tick—had moved through the space of seven minutes.
    • 1916, D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, “[On the Lago di Garda] The Spinner and the Monks”, in Twilight in Italy, London: Duckworth and Co. […], OCLC 1125129885 ↗, page 32 ↗:
      And I was pale, and clear, and evanescent, like the light, and they were dark, and close, and constant, like the shadow.
  3. Ephemeral, fleeting#Adjective|fleeting, momentary.
    Synonyms: nonevanescent, Thesaurus:ephemeral
    • 1851 November 13, Herman Melville, “Surmises”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299 ↗, page 236 ↗:
      In times of strong emotion mankind disdain all base considerations; but such times are evanescent. The permanent constitutional condition of the manufactured man, thought Ahab, is sordidness.
    1. (botany) Of plant#Noun|plant part#Noun|parts: shed#Verb|shed after a period.
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