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  • Adj.

evanescent

ev-uh-NES-uhnt

Context
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The brilliant, quickly disappearing sight of the fiery comet swiftly speeding across the night sky was fleeting and evanescent. One moment Aaron pointed the comet out to his brother, and the next moment the evanescent, short-lived wonder was gone. The brothers didn’t want to miss a moment of this heavenly beauty, so they watched eagerly until the evanescent flash vanished, leaving the sky dark once again.

Quiz: When is something evanescent?

  • When it is a discovery for science.
  • When it lasts only for a short time.
  • When it entertains young people.

Memory Hook
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Vanishing Scent When the wind comes along, the evanescent scent of the lilies fills my nostrils with a glorious but quickly vanishing scent as the wind soon dies down.

Examples
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  • The Journal was fat, happy and nicely profitable in the latter days of the 1990s stock-market bubble, as evanescent companies flush with money raised in the stock market bought ads right and left. —The Washington Post
  • The administration has been scrambling ever since to reassure the world that it didn’t really throw away the whole hard-won historical framework of the Middle East peace process in exchange for such evanescent assurances. —Newsweek
  • The efficiency of light collection from the evanescent zone and the large size of the fluorescent spheres relative to the probe aperture will also limit our ability to detect an evanescent component. —BNET
  • Vacation takes the same themes that made this group’s debut album a Top Ten smash — dating, dancing and dishing the dirt — and turns these evanescent pleasures into passionate, even important, music. —Rolling Stone

Word Ingredients
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e- thoroughly
van empty, hollow, illusory
-escent becoming, beginning to be

Something evanescent soon is “becoming thoroughly hollow, empty, or illusory” because of its very short-lived nature.

Word Constellation
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Evanescent