Definition of evanescent in US English:



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

    ‘a shimmering evanescent bubble’
    • ‘Just as the evanescent electric spark travels up the wire and disappears, we see how transitory our seemingly stable universe may prove to be.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, this sceptical triumph is evanescent, it vanishes when his attention turns to other facts.’
    • ‘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.’
    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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    1. 1.1Physics Denoting a field or wave that extends into a region where it cannot propagate and whose amplitude therefore decreases with distance.
      • ‘We performed laser induced fluorescence imaging by exciting the immobilized MBs with an evanescent wave field produced at the silica-water interface.’
      • ‘The technique uses the unique polarizations of evanescent waves generated by total internal reflection to excite the dipole moment of individual fluorophores.’
      • ‘Close to the sphere surface, the oligonucleotide interacts with the evanescent field of the WGM, which extends about a wavelength into the buffer solution.’
      • ‘I don't want to go into detail, but the phenomena can be explained by Maxwell's equation and evanescent waves.’
      • ‘First, the evanescent field decays exponentially at the sensor surface.’


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