For example, a newspaper. In general, last week's newspaper is much less relevant than today's. I want to use it in a sentence like: "Since newspapers are ____ in nature, it's important to be notified the moment a new issue comes out." Temporal is the only thing I can think of, but not really since I don't want to emphasize the object's impermanence.

  • 3
    ephemeral is the word.
    – Xanne
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 5:22
  • @Xann 'Ephemeral' is a word, but not a good fit here. I suppose you could say their value is ephemeral.. still doesn't seem quite right to me though.
    – OJFord
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 15:20
  • Go to your local library and ask for the section Ephemera -- you'll find the newspapers there. Vital today, lining the bottom of your budgie's cage tomorrow. Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


When English speakers can't think of a single word for something, they sometimes stick words together to make a phrase. That's the case with time-sensitive, which the Cambridge Dictionary helpfully defines:

time-sensitive adjective UK ​ US ​ ​ used to describe a product that has to be delivered by a particular time, or information that is only useful for a particular period: We deliver high-value, time-sensitive goods like cars, computers and specialist chemicals. time-sensitive documents

The word ephemeral suggested by a commenter conveys the brevity of something's life span, but it fails to deliver an indication of value.

We can raise the stakes on time-sensitive (a newspaper, in the original post) to time-critical (in the case of a shipment of vaccine for an outbreak of gomps in a remote corner of Rumtifoo).


I see you did mention temporal, the first thing that came my mind was temporal relevance (of the news, I don't think that emphasises the object's impermanence).

You could also borrow the phrase time value from finance (i.e. the 'time value of money' - £1 in your hand today is worth more than the promise of £1 later).

You could riff on that idea without the jargon by talking about newspapers' waning/depreciating relevance.

Another phrase might be 'of the moment' or similar.

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