11

Is there an adjective that describes the nature of expiring, connoting a sense of losing public attention, in a very short amount of time? For example,

In a fast-paced era, news articles are ____.

During the 1990s, compared with traditional technologies, computer technologies are ___; for example, a new generation of CPU technologies usually comes out every one to two years.

(I thought about "perishable," but it does not seem connoting "losing public attention.")

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

  • @choster Thanks I updated the examples. – xuhdev Jul 22 at 19:47
  • 1
    What is the best word describing rapidly falling out of fashion? That's nine less words then your title; good luck getting down to just one. fleeting, short-lived, and ephemeral don't connote "losing public attention". evanescent connotes both but colloquially has only one meaning: a band's name. – Mazura Jul 23 at 0:50
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    Doesn't fit your examples and not a single word, so this is a comment only; the term 'shelf life' could be used... 'computer technologies have short shelf life... – Christopher Jul 23 at 13:49
  • The second example has a confusing temporal location; initially I'd have assumed from "during the 1990s" the sentence is giving a historical account, which is in conflict with "are"/"comes" (implying the sentence is describing the present day) – Caius Jard Jul 25 at 11:33

11 Answers 11

38

I like the word fleeting for this:

: passing swiftly : TRANSITORY
// … the often fleeting nature of fame and fortune …
— Tom Sinclair

So:

In a fast-paced era, news articles are fleeting.

Of course, the referenced transitory would also work, depending on the style of speech to be conveyed.

31

I know there's an accepted answer, but another word that comes to mind (a synonym of fleeting) is ephemeral.

lasting a very short time
// ephemeral pleasures
  • 1
    This is the best fit for the sample sentence provided. – barbecue Jul 24 at 13:26
23

One could use short-lived.

not living or lasting long

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

6

I think a better word for this would be evanescent:

evanescent adj
1. vanishing; fading away; fleeting.
2. tending to become imperceptible; scarcely perceptible.
Dictionary.com

Right on both counts.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Jul 30 at 21:00
3

It's a phrase rather than a word, so aplogies on that but you could describe it as a "flash in the pan" Def: something that happened only once or for a short time and was not repeated:

  • This was exactly what I thought of at first. It means lasting a short time, but is also widely associated with popular opinion. While not a single word, it better captures the loss of public attention than the accepted answer. This answer could be improved by adding a link and a sample sentence. – barbecue Jul 24 at 13:33
  • Similar phrase would be something along the lines of "[his/her/its] 15 minutes are almost over." – Darrel Hoffman Jul 24 at 18:33
  • I was thinking "flash in the pan" when I first read the question. The only potential argument against is that it's too specific with the "not repeated" part of the definition; since the OP didn't specify that the success couldn't happen again, it may not fit. That's incredibly nitpicky though and I agree that it's a great answer. – John Clifford Jul 24 at 19:57
2

To add one more option, I like waning

wane verb (used without object), waned, wan·ing
1. to decrease in strength, intensity, etc.:
"Her enthusiasm for the cause is waning"
2. to decline in power, importance, prosperity, etc.:
"Colonialism began to wane after World War II"
3. to draw to a close; approach an end:
"Summer is waning."

Dictionary.com

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

2

I'd go with Disposable:

Adjective designed for or capable of being thrown away after being used or used up: disposable plastic spoons; a disposable cigarette lighter.

As, in my opinion, that captures the idea best. When everything becomes disposable – news, information, items, culture – they also become worthless.

1

I thought of faddish

fad noun : a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal : CRAZE

Of course that also denotes a quick entrance to the limelight, which may not be what you're going for.

1

I would also use the word "Obsolescent". So,

In a fast-paced era, news articles are obsolescent.

From Wikitionary:

Adjective Obsolescent (comparative more obsolescent, superlative most obsolescent) 1.In the process of becoming obsolete, but not obsolete yet.

From Wikipedia:

Obsolescence (noun) is the state of being which occurs when an object, service, or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. ... Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity.

0

Answers have not all been related to computer technology, so I add "a one-day wonder".

The Collins Dictionary has this

a one-day wonder
or a nine-day wonder

something or someone that is interesting, exciting, or successful for only a very short time, and does not have any lasting value

It certainly does describe some technology though I would not like to name one.

0

Transient could work here, particularly for the computer example as it occurs more often in computing nomenclature and is keyword in the Java programming language, used to indicate that an item data is short-lived and not intended to be saved to a long term storage medium through a process known as serialization.

For a multi-word answer (and I do think the "in the public mind" aspect of this question generally tends towards multi-words) I quite like here today, gone tomorrow

protected by tchrist Jul 27 at 15:53

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