Definition of evanescent in English:



  • 1literary Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

    ‘the evanescent Arctic summer’
    • ‘However, this sceptical triumph is evanescent, it vanishes when his attention turns to other facts.’
    • ‘Just as the evanescent electric spark travels up the wire and disappears, we see how transitory our seemingly stable universe may prove to be.’
    • ‘This parallel love story clearly relays the obvious frustration that Noah felt due to his wife's evanescent memory and his tender love for her.’
    • ‘Next to these markers, family and lived events can seem evanescent, fugitive, and unreal, because memories of them are neither ubiquitous nor collectively shared.’
    • ‘It was evanescent, fading just as quickly as it had appeared, and translucent to begin with.’
    vanishing, fading, evaporating, melting away, disappearing, diminishing, dwindling, shrinking, fugitive
    ephemeral, fleeting, short-lived, short-term, passing, transitory, transient, fugitive, momentary, temporary, brief, here today and gone tomorrow
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  • 2Physics
    Denoting a field or wave which extends into a region where it cannot propagate and whose amplitude therefore decreases with distance.

    • ‘First, the evanescent field decays exponentially at the sensor surface.’
    • ‘Close to the sphere surface, the oligonucleotide interacts with the evanescent field of the WGM, which extends about a wavelength into the buffer solution.’
    • ‘We performed laser induced fluorescence imaging by exciting the immobilized MBs with an evanescent wave field produced at the silica-water interface.’
    • ‘I don't want to go into detail, but the phenomena can be explained by Maxwell's equation and evanescent waves.’
    • ‘The technique uses the unique polarizations of evanescent waves generated by total internal reflection to excite the dipole moment of individual fluorophores.’


Early 18th century (in the sense ‘almost imperceptible’): from Latin evanescent- ‘disappearing’, from the verb evanescere (see evanesce).