Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Lasting for only a moment.
  • adj. Occurring or present at every moment: in momentary fear of being exposed.
  • adj. Short-lived or ephemeral, as a life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lasting for only a moment.
  • adj. Happening at every moment; perpetual.
  • adj. Ephemeral or relatively short-lived.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Done in a moment; continuing only a moment; lasting a very short time.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Lasting but a moment or for a very short time; of short duration: as, a momentary pang.
  • Short-lived; likely to die soon or at any moment.
  • Occurring every moment: as, momentary interruptions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lasting for a markedly brief time

Etymologies

Middle English momentare, from Latin mōmentārius, from mōmentum, moment; see moment.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Foley, who's openly gay, says he was molested by a priest as a child, leading him to addiction and what he calls a momentary lapse of judgment.

    CNN Transcript Nov 12, 2008

  • Any Republican urge to negotiate a ‘least bad’ compromise with the Democrats, and thereby gain momentary public credit for helping the president ‘do something’ about health care, should also be resisted.

    The Medical is Political « PubliCola

  • Few clearer statements of the naturalistic paradox of joy in momentary and sensuous pleasure being clouded by a pall that shrouds even the happiest summits34 can be found in London's fiction than his summary of Fang's outlook at the moment of realization:

    Le Milieu, Le Moment, La Race: Literary Naturalism in Jack London's White Fang

  • But the smaller branch of the two composing the fork broke, and Michael fell to the ground, landing in momentary confusion on his head and shoulders.

    CHAPTER XXXVI

  • Suffice to say it was a much more dangerous and miserable version of the above story (imagine seven-year-old crack addicts), but ultimately became an exercise in momentary transcendence.

    Vik Muniz: Thinking Artist

  • Michael fell to the ground, landing in momentary confusion on his head and shoulders.

    Chapter 36

  • Sometimes, in momentary reaction from the pent-up feelings of indignation and revolt, which were chronic with me during my imprisonments, I could have laughed out loud at the imbecility and pathos of human fallibility, that civilised (?) educated beings could continue such processes by way of ridding themselves from the dangers and active harmfulness of crime.

    Prisons and Prisoners: Some Personal Experiences

  • There was Pitapat flitting about the bed in momentary danger of looking under it!

    The Hidden Hand

  • My dear friend, you are in momentary danger of losing this soul of such priceless value.

    The Value of the Soul.

  • He lifted her and laid her on the sofa, and was lingering in momentary doubt whether to wait her recovery or ring for her maid, when the library-door opened, and Lady Raymond entered.

    Stuart of Dunleath: A Story of Modern Times

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