Ask Difference

Temporary vs. Permanent — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 30, 2023
Temporary implies lasting for a limited time, while Permanent means lasting or intended to last indefinitely.
Temporary vs. Permanent — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Temporary and Permanent


Key Differences

Temporary and Permanent are terms that signify the duration of something's existence or relevance. Temporary denotes something that has a limited lifespan, and will not last indefinitely. On the other hand, Permanent suggests a sense of permanence, where something is intended to last forever or for an indefinite amount of time.
In many contexts, especially in employment, the term Temporary is used to describe a situation or position that's short-term, possibly with an end date in sight. Conversely, Permanent positions often come with long-term commitments, benefits, and a sense of job security.
When considering objects or materials, those labeled as Temporary are not expected to last long and might be more susceptible to wear and tear. In contrast, Permanent materials are built to withstand external factors and time, promising longevity.
Another perspective is how we approach decisions. Temporary solutions often address immediate concerns without necessarily considering long-term implications. Meanwhile, Permanent solutions typically involve more planning and are meant to address an issue for the long run.
Both Temporary and Permanent have profound implications in various fields like art, law, technology, and psychology. For instance, Temporary art installations might be there for an event and taken down afterward, while Permanent exhibits become mainstays of a museum.

Comparison Chart


Limited time span.
Indefinite or forever.

Job Positions

Often short-term, possibly with an end date.
Long-term with job security.

Material Durability

Susceptible to wear and tear.
Built to withstand time and external factors.


Address immediate concerns.
Address long-term implications.

Art Installations

For events and taken down afterward.
Mainstays in museums.

Compare with Definitions


Existing in a situation for a short duration.
They stayed in a Temporary housing facility.


Fixed and unchangeable.
The damage to the sculpture was Permanent.


Lasting for a limited period of time.
The relief from the pain was only Temporary.


Not subject to change.
The ink left a Permanent mark on the fabric.


Not permanent.
She took a Temporary job until she found something stable.


Long-lasting or non-fading.
She got a Permanent tattoo on her arm.


Serving for the time being.
The company hired a Temporary replacement.


Remaining without essential change.
Their bond was Permanent, standing the test of time.


Lasting, used, serving, or enjoyed for a limited time.


Lasting or remaining without essential change
"the universal human yearning for something permanent, enduring, without shadow of change" (Willa Cather).


One that serves for a limited time
An office staffed by temporaries.


Not expected to change in status, condition, or place
A permanent address.
Permanent secretary to the president.


Not permanent; existing only for a period or periods of time.
Sally was put in temporary charge of the department while they searched for a full-time replacement.


Any of several long-lasting hair styles usually achieved by chemical applications that straighten, curl, or wave the hair.


Existing only for a short time or short times; transient, ephemeral.


Without end, eternal.
Nothing in this world is truly permanent.


One serving for a limited time; short-term employee.


Lasting for an indefinitely long time.
The countries are now locked in a permanent state of conflict.


(programming) A short-term variable used to store an intermediate result.


A chemical hair treatment imparting or removing curliness, whose effects typically last for a period of weeks; a perm.


Lasting for a time only; existing or continuing for a limited time; not permanent; as, the patient has obtained temporary relief.
Temporary government of the city.


Given an n \times n matrix a_{ij} \,, the sum over all permutations \pi \, of \prod_{i=1}^n{a_{i\pi(i)}}.


Not permanent; not lasting;
Politics is an impermanent factor of life
Impermanent palm cottages
A temperary arrangement
Temporary housing


(trading card games) A card whose effects persist beyond the turn on which it is played.


Lacking continuity or regularity;
An irregular worker
Employed on a temporary basis


To perm (the hair).


Subject to change or termination.
The Temporary truce ended abruptly.


Continuing in the same state, or without any change that destroys form or character; remaining unaltered or unremoved; abiding; durable; fixed; stable; lasting; as, a permanent impression.
Eternity stands permanent and fixed.


A series of waves in the hair made by applying heat and chemicals


Continuing or enduring without marked change in status or condition or place;
Permanent secretary to the president
Permanent address
Literature of permanent value


Not capable of being reversed or returned to the original condition;
Permanent brain damage


Lasting or intended to last indefinitely.
He got a Permanent position at the company.

Common Curiosities

Is a Permanent marker erasable?

Typically, a Permanent marker is not easily erasable.

Which implies a shorter duration: Temporary or Permanent?

Temporary implies a shorter duration.

Are Temporary employees entitled to benefits like Permanent employees?

Temporary employees might not always receive the same benefits as Permanent employees, but this varies by employer.

Does Permanent mean forever?

Permanent often means lasting indefinitely, which can be akin to "forever."

Can a Temporary solution become Permanent?

Yes, sometimes Temporary solutions can evolve into Permanent ones based on outcomes and needs.

Can something Permanent change over time?

While Permanent implies lasting and unchangeable, unforeseen circumstances can sometimes bring about change.

Why might someone prefer a Temporary position over a Permanent one?

Some prefer Temporary positions for flexibility, specific experiences, or while searching for a Permanent role.

Is a Permanent tattoo removable?

While termed Permanent, tattoos can sometimes be removed or faded through specific procedures, but it's often challenging.

In legal terms, is a Temporary injunction the same as a Permanent one?

No, a Temporary injunction is provisional, while a Permanent injunction lasts indefinitely unless changed by the court.

What's the opposite of Temporary?

The opposite of Temporary is Permanent.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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