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Temporary vs. Temporal: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on November 8, 2023
Temporary refers to something lasting for only a limited period of time. Temporal relates to time or life's temporal (earthly) existence.

Key Differences

Temporary is used to describe something that is not permanent and is intended to last only for a short period. For instance, a temporary job is one that is only meant to last for a while until a permanent position is found. Temporal, on the other hand, is a broader term that relates to time or secular life as opposed to the spiritual. While "temporary" highlights the short-lived nature of an object or state, "temporal" is more about relating to worldly as opposed to eternal matters.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
The distinction between temporary and temporal becomes clearer when we consider their usage in different contexts. Temporary often comes into play when we talk about solutions, accommodations, or situations. For example, a temporary restraining order is issued for a short duration. Temporal is used in contexts that concern time or chronological sequences, or in a philosophical or religious context to contrast with the eternal or spiritual, such as temporal authority versus spiritual authority.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Temporary emphasizes the brief nature of an event or state and is typically used in a more practical, everyday sense. For example, a temporary password is provided to access a service for a limited amount of time. Temporal, while it can also refer to time, often has a grander scale or philosophical implication, such as in discussions about the temporal universe, which encompasses all of time and space as we understand it.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
In the world of employment, we often hear about temporary positions, which are jobs not intended to last indefinitely. These contrast with the concept of temporal power, which is the political and secular authority of a ruler, not necessarily limited by time, but in terms of its domain, separate from spiritual or religious power.
Harlon Moss
Nov 08, 2023
Temporary and temporal can sometimes be used interchangeably when they refer to time, but their connotations differ. A temporary phase implies it will pass soon, while a temporal phase could imply it is related to the human concept of time, potentially without the connotation of brevity. For instance, temporary changes in policy are expected to revert after a while, whereas temporal changes might refer to changes within the time-bound framework of human experience.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Duration

Short-term, not lasting
Related to time, but not specifically short or long-term
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Usage

Practical situations
Philosophical or spiritual contexts
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Nature

Transient, fleeting
Pertaining to worldly or secular matters
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Implication

Implies an end point
Does not imply an end, more about the concept of time
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Context

Often used for objects, jobs, situations
Used for authority, power, and the physical universe
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023
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Temporary and Temporal Definitions

Temporary

Not permanent.
The company offered him a temporary position.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Temporal

Secular.
The temporal authorities were separate from the church.
Janet White
Nov 08, 2023

Temporary

Intended for short-term use.
She lived in temporary housing during the renovation.
Huma Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Temporal

Pertaining to time.
Scientists study the temporal progression of the universe.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 08, 2023

Temporary

Provisional.
The committee made a temporary ruling on the issue.
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023

Temporal

Relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual affairs.
The king's temporal power was absolute.
Huma Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Temporary

Makeshift.
We put up a temporary shelter to protect us from the storm.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 08, 2023

Temporal

Earthly life.
Monks renounce temporal pleasures for spiritual fulfillment.
Janet White
Nov 08, 2023

Temporary

Lasting for a limited time.
The festival was set up at a temporary location.
Janet White
Nov 08, 2023

Temporal

Of or relating to the material world.
He focused on temporal wealth rather than spiritual wealth.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Temporary

Lasting, used, serving, or enjoyed for a limited time.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 21, 2023

Temporal

Of, relating to, or limited by time
A temporal dimension.
Temporal and spatial boundaries.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 21, 2023

Temporary

One that serves for a limited time
An office staffed by temporaries.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 21, 2023

Temporal

Of or relating to the material world; worldly
The temporal possessions of the Church.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 21, 2023

FAQs

Can a building be temporal?

Not usually, as "temporal" relates to time or secular authority.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 08, 2023

Can "temporal" mean long-term?

It can, as it relates to time generally without specifying duration.
Huma Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Are temporary workers full-time?

They can be, but their employment is short-term.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Is a temporary job meant to become permanent?

Not necessarily, it's intended for a short period.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Does "temporal" have religious connotations?

It can, especially when contrasting with the spiritual.
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023

Does "temporal" relate to time management?

It can in the sense of secular or worldly time.
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023

Is "temporary" always short-term?

Yes, it implies a limited duration.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Can something be temporary and temporal?

Yes, if it's short-lived and relates to secular life.
Janet White
Nov 08, 2023

Do temporal matters concern history?

Yes, in the context of time periods and secular events.
Harlon Moss
Nov 08, 2023

Can "temporary" refer to emotions?

Yes, as in temporary sadness.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Are "temporary" solutions ideal?

They're often a stopgap until a permanent solution is found.
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023

Does temporary mean the same as interim?

Yes, both imply a placeholder until something permanent is established.
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023

Is a temporary employee the same as a temp?

Yes, "temp" is short for temporary employee.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Are temporary fixes often used?

Yes, for immediate but short-term resolution.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 08, 2023

Is "temporal" used in science?

Yes, especially in discussions about time and the universe.
Sara Rehman
Nov 08, 2023

Is "temporal" used in medicine?

Yes, as in temporal lobe related to the brain.
Harlon Moss
Nov 08, 2023

Does "temporal" imply impermanence?

Not necessarily, it's more about the concept of time.
Janet White
Nov 08, 2023

Do temporal powers change?

They can, especially with shifts in secular governance.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 08, 2023

Can a contract be temporary?

Yes, if it's set for a limited duration.
Harlon Moss
Nov 08, 2023

Can temporal refer to art?

Indirectly, in the sense of art from different time periods.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 08, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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