from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A brief, indefinite interval of time.
  • noun A specific point in time, especially the present time.
  • noun A point in time that is gratifying or noteworthy.
  • noun An occasion affording an opportunity.
  • noun A particular period of importance, influence, or significance in a series of events or developments.
  • noun Outstanding significance or value; importance.
  • noun A brief period of time that is characterized by a quality, such as excellence, suitability, or distinction.
  • noun An essential or constituent element, as of a complex idea.
  • noun A phase or aspect of a logically developing process.
  • noun The product of a quantity, such as force or mass, and its perpendicular distance from a reference point.
  • noun The tendency to cause rotation about a point or axis.
  • noun Statistics The expected value of a positive integer power of a random variable. The first moment of a random variable is the mean of its probability distribution.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A minute portion of time; a point of time; an instant.
  • noun Impulsive power; force; momentum.
  • noun Importance, as in influence or effect; consequence; weight or value; consideration.
  • noun An essential element; a deciding point, fact, or consideration; an essential or influential circumstance.
  • noun (Math.), obsolete An infinitesimal change in a varying quantity; an increment or decrement.
  • noun (Mech.) Tendency, or measure of tendency, to produce motion, esp. motion about a fixed point or axis.
  • noun (Mech.) the product of either of its forces into the perpendicular distance between them.
  • noun (Mech.), With respect to a point, With respect to a line, With respect to a plane that is parallel to the force the product of the force into the perpendicular distance of its point of application from the plane.
  • noun of a rotating body, the sum of the mass of each particle of matter of the body into the square of its distance from the axis of rotation; -- called also moment of rotation and moment of the mass.
  • noun the product of a force into its leverage; the same as moment of a force with respect to a point, line, etc.
  • noun See under Virtual.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun at this time
  • noun a turning force produced by an object acting at a distance (or a measure of that force)
  • noun a particular point in time
  • noun having important effects or influence


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin mōmentum, from *movimentum; see momentum.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French moment, from Latin momentum.


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  • 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

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


    November 7, 2007

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

    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

  • 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

  • Why twelves and not tens?

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

    November 7, 2007

  • Aha! That must be the answer!

    November 7, 2007