Definition of moment in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈməʊm(ə)nt/


1A very brief period of time: she was silent for a moment before replying a few moments later he returned to the office
More example sentences
  • I had a brief moment of silent panic when I thought I'd chipped a tooth on a particularly hard bit.
  • Setting aside the real world for a moment, let's return to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
  • He rubbed his hand over his eyes wearily and thought for a moment before replying.
little while, short time, bit, minute, second, instant, split second
informal sec, nanosecond, jiffy, jiff
British informal tick, mo, two ticks
1.1An exact point in time: she would always remember the moment they met
More example sentences
  • It is impossible to remember the exact moment I fell in love with music.
  • The third series opens at the exact moment the last episode ended.
  • But some moments will always be remembered just because they sum something up.
point in time, point, time, hour, juncture, stage
1.2An appropriate time for doing something; an opportunity: I was waiting for the right moment to tell him
More example sentences
  • We all have wonderful ideas hiding inside just waiting for the right moment to be let out.
  • The MRF headquarters just waited for the right moment to publicise the matter as much as possible.
  • By failing to protest at the right moment, I missed the chance of being heard.
1.3A particular stage in the development of something or in a course of events: one of the great moments in aviation history
More example sentences
  • Many times the country has been marred at critical moments in its development, as was the case with the attack on the Pope.
  • It is therefore exposed to a disproportionately high dose of chemicals at a critical moment of its development.
  • We find ourselves at a historical moment in the course of a major change.
2 [mass noun] formal Importance: the issues were of little moment to the electorate
More example sentences
  • Martyrs' relics and graves seemed of little moment in a world about to be consumed by fire.
  • His diplomacy won over only the Illyrian king Genthius, whose support proved of little moment.
  • It is therefore of little moment for the affected parties and, derivatively, for social policy.
importance, import, significance, consequence, substance, note, mark, prominence, value, weight, concern, interest, gravity, seriousness
3 Physics A turning effect produced by a force acting at a distance on an object.
Example sentences
  • The team used samarium, an element whose spin and orbital moments are opposite and vary with temperature.
  • Here's the sneaky part - we use that fact that atoms with the wrong moments are kicked out of the trap.
  • The relative size of the control surface in relation to its location also will determine the magnitude of the moments.
3.1The magnitude of a turning effect produced by a force acting at a distance, expressed as the product of the force and the distance from its line of action to a given point.
Example sentences
  • Hove et al. found that box fishes exhibit some of the smallest amplitude recoil moments known among fishes.
  • Stride length is probably limited more by optimisation of force moments by the nervous system than ROM.
4 Statistics A quantity that expresses the average or expected value of the first, second, third, or fourth power of the deviation of each component of a frequency distribution from a given value, typically mean or zero. The first moment is the mean, the second moment the variance, the third moment the skew, and the fourth moment the kurtosis.
Example sentences
  • It follows from substitution and rearrangement that the expected value of the second moment of y about x is [(1 / k) + F ST].
  • In that case, one has a finite value of the first moment, i.e., of the average jump length.
  • In the absence of dominance, the expectation of the variance is a second moment in gene frequencies, and the variance of the variance a tractable fourth moment.



any moment (or at any moment)

Very soon: my father will be here any moment now she looked as though at any moment she might burst into tears
More example sentences
  • The excuse was usually that, although restored to fitness, the illness could strike again at any moment.
  • Dark clouds that kept gathering in the sky from afternoon threatened to burst at any moment.
  • There is too much to see, and the vaporettos are so heavily laden, they look as if they may sink at any moment.

at the (or this) moment

At the present time; now: he’s in bed at the moment
More example sentences
  • It seems that the web and politics have become my current fascination at the moment.
  • We managed to get some funds out but not very much as there is no foreign currency to buy at the moment.
  • And at this moment in time, she's just as brilliantly oblivious as she ever was.
at present, just now, right now, at this time, at the present time, currently, presently, at this moment in time

at this moment in time

At the present instant; now: at this moment in time we need more donors
More example sentences
  • Let me say that at this moment in time, I am very happy.
  • At this moment in time, there is nothing to suggest that there will be disorder but extra police officers are being deployed so that we can deter rowdy behaviour.
  • No work needs to be done by the department at this moment in time.

for the moment

For now: I decided that, for the moment, I’d keep quiet
More example sentences
  • I will dismiss the silliness of the notion for the moment, and run with the premise.
  • Whatever the truth of that it seems likely that, for the moment, the spending settlement will stick.
  • In town there is, for the moment, nothing for me or any honest man to do.

have a moment

informal Be currently popular or in fashion: the hitherto unfashionable Tyrol is currently having a moment Brady believes foreign language films definitely had a moment about 7 years ago
More example sentences
  • Industrious Oporto is definitely having a moment - its unglamorous and unfancied football team, F. C. Porto, won the European club championship in May.
  • While the bob has many guises, the iconic style is currently having a moment.
  • The cable knit sweater is also having a fashion moment of its own.

have one's (or its) moments

Have short periods that are better or more impressive than others: the LP may not be the best album of the year, but it has its moments
More example sentences
  • Overall, it was a most enjoyable game that saw both sides having their moments but, although Ballyduff came close, Desmonds just about deserved their win.
  • There are others who will have their moments, but when you look at the strength these guys have on the bench, you realise that they are in a different league.
  • That said, the Bond movies do have their moments.

in a moment

1Very soon: I’ll be back in a moment
More example sentences
  • I will be out of here in a moment, as soon as I find the door.
  • We shall see why this doubleness is so important in a moment.
  • I will be removing some people from the Chamber in a moment, very quickly.
very soon, in a minute, in a second, in a trice, in a flash, shortly, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in (less than) no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long;
North American  momentarily
informal in a jiffy, in a nanosecond, in two shakes, in two shakes of a lamb's tail, before you can say Jack Robinson, in the blink of an eye, in a blink, in the wink of an eye, in a wink, before you can say knife
British informal in a tick, in two ticks, in a mo
North American informal in a snap
archaic or informal anon
archaic ere long
2Instantly: the fugitive was captured in a moment
More example sentences
  • The resulting sculptures are almost spookily realistic - every pore, fissure, sinew or callus can be captured in a moment - immortalised in stone or metal.
  • Her eyes suddenly flowed over and in a moment, she was crying freely.
  • Burge drove straight out, and in a moment, was on the highway.

live for the moment

Live or act without worrying about the future: Pisceans hate routine and like to live for the moment
More example sentences
  • In other words, it made some people live for the future and others live for the moment.
  • They are the carefree ones - the dare-devils who live for the moment and leave the future to look after itself.
  • I'm just living for the moment, not daring to think about what the future holds.

the moment ——

As soon as ——: the heavens opened the moment we left the house
More example sentences
  • These tactics protect the military's house of cards for a while but it collapses the moment the principal actor is removed.
  • In fact, I said yes immediately, the moment that Mum had finished speaking, the moment the question mark had left her mouth.
  • James sat waiting, and the moment his gaze caught hers she ran into his arms.

moment of truth

A time when a person or thing is tested, a decision has to be made, or a crisis has to be faced: the moment of truth for most German children comes at the end of Grade 4
With allusion to the final sword thrust in a bullfight
More example sentences
  • After all, it is neither a moment of truth nor a turning point for two of the three characters.
  • The fuel crisis has brought us to a moment of truth.
  • The dramatic climax is Esther's moment of truth, when she summons the courage to risk her life for her people.

not a moment too soon

Almost too late.
Example sentences
  • Finally, the show was to begin and not a moment too soon.
  • After an unexpected delay, the Bulgarian winter has finally arrived - and not a moment too soon for the country's ski resorts.
  • West Vancouver council's plan to install universal water meters in the district has come not a moment too soon.

not for a (or one) moment

Not at all; never: she had not for one moment doubted that everything would go her way
More example sentences
  • ‘I never ever doubted him, not for a moment,’ said the pilot's fiancée Helena.
  • Yet not for a moment would he consider moving out to a place of his own, which he surely could have afforded.
  • He wasn't fooled, not for a moment, but he wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of a reaction.

of the moment

Currently popular, famous, or important: the buzzword of the moment
More example sentences
  • There are a thousand sites on the net which duplicate the popular links of the moment.
  • Now it's the buzzword of the moment and it could be a key issue in the coming Federal election.
  • Virtualization is the buzzword of the moment for hardware and software makers alike.

one moment (or just a moment)

A request for someone to wait for a short period of time: ‘One moment, please, while I check the bookings,’ the waiter said
More example sentences
  • Excuse me one moment but am I right in thinking that there are at least two unemployed people in the UK?

share a moment

informal Experience a joint sensation of heightened emotion: Alan and Bridget shared a moment yesterday after the memorial service
More example sentences
  • Then he sees Charlotte for real, across the street, walking toward the karaoke joint where they shared a moment.
  • Once inside, the crowds will share a moment of silence.
  • I just - I just feel that we shared a moment.


Late Middle English: from Latin momentum (see momentum).

  • The Latin word momentum is the source of our words moment and momentum (Old English). Its root is movere, ‘to move’. At the end of a bullfight the matador faces the bull and prepares to make the final sword thrust. In Spanish this is la hora de la verdad, translated into English as the moment of truth. The first recorded use was by the writer Ernest Hemingway in his 1932 book Death in the Afternoon.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mo¦ment

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