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

  • n. A brief, indefinite interval of time.
  • n. A specific point in time, especially the present time: He is not here at the moment.
  • n. A particular period of importance, influence, or significance in a series of events or developments: a great moment in history; waiting for her big moment.
  • n. Outstanding significance or value; importance: a discovery of great moment.
  • n. A brief period of time that is characterized by a quality, such as excellence, suitability, or distinction: a lackluster performance that nevertheless had its moments.
  • n. Philosophy An essential or constituent element, as of a complex idea.
  • n. Philosophy A phase or an aspect of a logically developing process.
  • n. Physics The product of a quantity and its perpendicular distance from a reference point.
  • n. Physics The tendency to cause rotation about a point or an axis.
  • n. Statistics The expected value of a positive integral power of a random variable. The first moment is the mean of the distribution.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A brief, unspecified amount of time.
  • n. The smallest portion of time; an instant.
  • n. Weight or importance.
  • n. The turning effect of a force applied to a rotational system at a distance from the axis of rotation. Also called moment of force.
  • n. A definite period of time, specifically one-tenth of a point, or one-fortieth or one-fiftieth of an hour.
  • n. A petit mal episode; such a spell.
  • n. A fit, a short-duration tantrum, a hissy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A minute portion of time; a point of time; an instant.
  • n. Impulsive power; force; momentum.
  • n. Importance, as in influence or effect; consequence; weight or value; consideration.
  • n. An essential element; a deciding point, fact, or consideration; an essential or influential circumstance.
  • n. An infinitesimal change in a varying quantity; an increment or decrement.
  • n. Tendency, or measure of tendency, to produce motion, esp. motion about a fixed point or axis.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To order or arrange to a moment.
  • n. A space of time incalculably or indefinitely small.
  • n. Precise point of time; exact or very instant, as of a motion, action, or occurrence: as, at that moment he expired.
  • n. A brief interval; the passing time: in the phrase for aor the moment: as, for a moment he was at a loss.
  • n. The present time; especially, with the definite article, the precise instant of opportunity.
  • n. Momentum; impetus; moving cause; impelling force or occasion.
  • n. Notable purport; weight or value; importance; consequence: as, his opinions are of little moment to us.
  • n. A forcible or convincing plea.
  • n. An essential or constituent element; an important factor.
  • n. In mathematics, an increment or decrement; an infinitesimal change in a varying quantity.
  • n. In mech., in general, effect; avail.
  • n. With reference to a line or axis, the product of the component of the force in the plane perpendicular to the line by the distance of that component from that line.
  • n. In statistics, influence in determining the position of the center or of the axis of distribution, as of population or resources.

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

  • n. at this time
  • n. a turning force produced by an object acting at a distance (or a measure of that force)
  • n. a particular point in time
  • n. having important effects or influence
  • n. the n-th moment of a distribution is the expected value of the n-th power of the deviations from a fixed value
  • n. an indefinitely short time


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin mōmentum, from *movimentum; see momentum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French moment, from Latin momentum. (Wiktionary)



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  • Aha! That must be the answer!

    November 7, 2007

  • Why twelves and not tens?

    polydactyly resulting from inbreeding in the upper echelons of society who determined this kind of thing?

    November 7, 2007

  • See?! Now that's the kind of weirdness I was questioning on the long ton page. Who the heck decided an hour would be 40 parts, divided into 12 ounces of 7.5 seconds each?

    And, for that matter, who decided it would be 60 minutes, each made up of 60 seconds? Or that a day would have 24 hours instead of, say, 10? Why twelves and not tens?

    November 7, 2007

  • I know! Who needs minutes? "So let's 'bout we meet at the restaurant at 10 moments and 4 ounces after 5? And don't be late!"

    November 7, 2007

  • I love the idea of time being measured in ounces.

    November 7, 2007

  • This is a very momentous bit of information. I must find a way to incorporate it.

    November 7, 2007

  • In the Middle Ages, a moment was a specific measure of time equal to 1/40 hour or 1.5 minutes, and was divided into 12 ounces of 7.5 seconds each.

    November 7, 2007