What is ePhemera?

So, what is ephemera?
(and how do you pronounce it?)

The pronunciation of ephemera is
ih – FEM – er – uh
(put the emphasis on the syllable " FEM ")

Ephemera comes from the Greek word
εφήμερος - ephemeros
which translates literally to "lasting only one day" – and describes items that exist only briefly; they are transitory.
Traditionally, ephemera was used to describe items in nature, but it can describe any number of items that … exist only briefly.

In current terms, ephemera is applied to paper items, such as letters, maps, posters, tickets, magazines - items that were originally meant to be thrown away after use but have since become collectibles.

ephemera is the plural of ephemeron
(pronunciation of ephemeron is: ih – FEM – er – uhn)
The dictionary states it is:
1. anything short-lived or ephemeral
2. ephemera items, designed to be useful or important for only a short time - items such as pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc.

And finally, we come to ephemeral
(pronunciation of ephemeral is ih – fem – er – uhl)
and it is used as an adjective, as in:
"the autumnal blaze of colors is always to be treasured, all the more so because it is so ephemeral" (so temporary, so fleeting)

1. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood
2. lasting but only days: an ephemeral flower
3. anything short-lived, as certain insects, such as the mayfly

 For those who appreciate strictly paper ephemera, you may enjoy picking up a copy of
The Encyclopedia of Ephemera: A Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator, and Historian
by Maurice Rickards et alia.
London: The British Library; New York: Routledge, 2000.  


and for those of you still reading ... : )

Some poetry re: ephemera

Time, how insidious you are!
Staring into morning’s clouded mirror,
Through steamy shower droplets,
I recognize you!

Insatiable and inexorable horologe of fate!
You return relentlessly to your quarry—
Youth, transient as rose’s petal,
Ephemeral as morning’s dew.

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dunn
from "Beyond Door's Threshold Light"
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