[moh-muh nt] /ˈmoʊ mənt/

an indefinitely short period of time; instant:
I’ll be with you in a moment.
the present time or any other particular time (usually preceded by the):
He is busy at the moment.
a definite period or stage, as in a course of events; juncture:
at this moment in history.
importance or consequence:
a decision of great moment.
a particular time or period of success, excellence, fame, etc.:
His big moment came in the final game.
Statistics. the mean or expected value of the product formed by multiplying together a set of one or more variates or variables each to a specified power.


a short indefinite period of time: he’ll be here in a moment
a specific instant or point in time: at that moment the doorbell rang
the moment, the present point of time: at the moment it’s fine
import, significance, or value: a man of moment

(statistics) the mean of a specified power of the deviations of all the values of a variable in its frequency distribution. The power of the deviations indicates the order of the moment and the deviations may be from the origin (giving a moment about the origin) or from the mean (giving a moment about the mean)

mid-14c., “very brief portion of time, instant,” in moment of time, from Old French moment (12c.) “moment, minute; importance, weight, value” or directly from Latin momentum “movement, motion; moving power; alteration, change;” also “short time, instant” (also source of Spanish, Italian momento), contraction of *movimentum, from movere “to move” (see move (v.)). Some (but not OED) explain the sense evolution of the Latin word by notion of a particle so small it would just “move” the pointer of a scale, which led to the transferred sense of “minute time division.” Sense of “importance, ‘weight’ ” is attested in English from 1520s.

Phrase never a dull moment first recorded 1889 in Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat.” Phrase moment of truth first recorded 1932 in Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon,” from Spanish el momento de la verdad, the final sword-thrust in a bull-fight.

Related Terms

big moment
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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