Definition of temporary in US English:



  • Lasting for only a limited period of time; not permanent.

    ‘a temporary job’
    • ‘The council has offered them temporary accommodation.’
    • ‘She has two degrees but she has only found a part-time, temporary job.’
    • ‘He hoped the company would assist them in finding temporary accommodation.’
    • ‘The couple run the parcel service from temporary buildings on the farm.’
    • ‘He is living here, but we do not know whether this is a permanent or temporary arrangement.’
    • ‘We currently use temporary doctors but we can't carry on with this in the longer term.’
    • ‘Many people still live in temporary homes.’
    • ‘The team welcomed a new player into their ranks, albeit for only a temporary period.’
    • ‘You can record programmes to the hard drive for temporary storage.’
    • ‘Beauty is temporary, yet we live in a world that is preoccupied with looks.’
    • ‘When working in wet weather, they put down temporary protection for the soil.’
    • ‘In the past, permanent and temporary staff always had the same pay and conditions.’
    • ‘During the road closures police advise drivers to use the temporary car parks.’
    • ‘The boys will stay in this temporary shelter until a better solution can be found.’
    • ‘He was searching for emergency temporary accommodation in the city centre.’
    • ‘The school had to make do with temporary classrooms.’
    • ‘I have taken on a succession of temporary jobs.’
    • ‘I was temporary manager for the day.’
    • ‘Most patients experience temporary side effects which usually end within three days.’
    • ‘He suffered some temporary weakness in his right hand.’
    • ‘She held him so tight it was painful, and prayed, just prayed, that this was only temporary.’
    non-permanent, short-term, interim
    brief, short-lived, momentary, fleeting, passing, impermanent, here today and gone tomorrow, transient, transitory, ephemeral, evanescent, fugitive
    View synonyms


  • A person employed on a temporary basis, typically an office worker who finds employment through an agency.

    See also temp
    • ‘They're paying overtime to existing employees or hiring temporaries instead.’
    • ‘You'd think that employers would try to fill the gap with temporaries.’
    • ‘They provide temporaries to firms needing replacement workers on a short-term basis.’
    • ‘Employees usually taken on as temporaries to help with busy periods will be given permanent contracts.’
    • ‘Government is too important to be left to temporaries with no experience.’
    • ‘The maid and the cook have a week off and mom and dad never hired any temporaries.’
    • ‘The barracks were virtually empty and only used for temporaries.’
    • ‘The workers are recruited as temporaries during the annual pilgrimage season.’
    • ‘The health workers, who are hired as temporaries, also want permanent positions.’
    • ‘In the early years, sales teams promoted the use of temporaries.’


Mid 16th century: from Latin temporarius, from tempus, tempor- ‘time’.