Definition of moment in English:



  • 1A very brief period of time.

    ‘she was silent for a moment before replying’
    ‘a few moments later he returned to the office’
    • ‘He held my gaze for a moment longer before returning his focus to my grandmother.’
    • ‘Wyatt stood silent for a moment, unable to anything other than stare at the duo in front of him.’
    • ‘Reynold picked up his fork and played with his salad for a moment before replying.’
    • ‘Marsha's frown returned and for a moment Thomas feared she'd go all motherly on him.’
    • ‘The rebels drag one of their own back from the front, and moments later exact their revenge on the captive man.’
    • ‘She disappeared for a moment and returned with a towel, blanket, and a first aid kit.’
    • ‘I had a brief moment of silent panic when I thought I'd chipped a tooth on a particularly hard bit.’
    • ‘A bingo fan won a £20,000 jackpot prize and promptly offered to split his winnings with a woman he had only met moments earlier.’
    • ‘He rummaged around for a moment and returned with a pair of black pants and a light blue sleeveless top.’
    • ‘He rubbed his hand over his eyes wearily and thought for a moment before replying.’
    • ‘Setting aside the real world for a moment, let's return to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.’
    • ‘I stopped for a moment in the silent air to enjoy the incredible surroundings which brought tears to my eyes.’
    • ‘The girls giggled and spent the next few moments remembering their experiences with Paz in the past.’
    • ‘Take a moment now to remember the best thing that ever happened to you.’
    • ‘He looked away for a moment but returned to steering the cart down the dirt road.’
    • ‘Then, moments later, she turned on the radio that sat on her nightstand.’
    • ‘They stood there silent for a moment, looking at each other and looking at the stars on the sky.’
    • ‘Rachel disappeared for a moment, then returned with a glass of water in her hands.’
    • ‘I looked at him blankly and for a moment a look of panic crossed his handsome features.’
    • ‘After a few moments it was my turn, and I walked over behind the wall.’
    • ‘They each held the other's gaze for a moment, and some silent message was conveyed.’
    • ‘His answer was the resolute sort that made her fall silent for a moment in contemplation.’
    little while, short time, bit, minute, second, instant, split second
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An exact point in time.
      ‘she would always remember the moment they met’
      • ‘I do remember the door opening onto daylight, always a magic moment, and John inviting us all back to his place.’
      • ‘I remember so many wonderful moments it's just hard to pinpoint one.’
      • ‘Carla Gray lit up the stage from the moment she stepped onto it.’
      • ‘She has been trained to approach the table only at the exact moment when everyone's mouth is full.’
      • ‘A bell was sounded at the exact moment the waves hit, marking two minutes of silence.’
      • ‘But some moments will always be remembered just because they sum something up.’
      • ‘Your body shakes with excitement right up until the moment you step on stage.’
      • ‘All eyes, it seemed turned at the exact moment to stare at the handsome man who had strolled into the room.’
      • ‘Of course, the moment I got there it was clear that all my concerns were completely groundless.’
      • ‘From the moment they met he had always made her laugh and smile, so much that she feared that even the Gods would be jealous.’
      • ‘She knows the exact moment the boat capsized: ten past three in the afternoon.’
      • ‘They need to be investigated in the field, although this might not be the exact moment to do it.’
      • ‘Worse still, if I hear of some terrible disaster, I will imagine what I was doing at the exact moment it occurred.’
      • ‘He remembered some of the moments that had endeared the youngster to everyone he met.’
      • ‘The natal chart is a static chart created for the exact moment of the person's birth.’
      • ‘The third series opens at the exact moment the last episode ended.’
      • ‘By painting from photographs, Fromanger and his fellow artists wanted to document exact moments.’
      • ‘We comforted ourselves with the thought that in the end these hairy moments aren't the moments they'll remember.’
      • ‘The exact moment of the disaster was caught on an amateur video camera.’
      • ‘It is impossible to remember the exact moment I fell in love with music.’
      point in time, point, time, hour, juncture, stage
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An appropriate time for doing something; an opportunity.
      ‘I was waiting for the right moment to tell him’
      • ‘He had been laying low for awhile waiting for the right moment to get his revenge.’
      • ‘It is very important to be able to save energy in a fight and then attack the right target in the right moment.’
      • ‘It should not be so difficult to say these things, but Sonia has been waiting for the right moment.’
      • ‘Learn to wait for the right moment, the right partner, the right time to present itself.’
      • ‘I had to wait for the right moment to use a move I was sure would knock him out cold.’
      • ‘William spent the winter months preparing and then, once ready, waited for the right moment to invade the country.’
      • ‘The men in this novel are mostly shadowy figures who seem to appear at the right moment to fill out a necessary niche.’
      • ‘Julia wants to wait until just the right moment before she sends it to you.’
      • ‘Today, I read that someone valued the comment I left on their blog; they felt it came just at the right moment.’
      • ‘At the right moment the space plane will separate from its host.’
      • ‘She thinks that this is the right moment for her to give her present, just before he goes back on tour.’
      • ‘She rolled over onto her stomach and paused, as if she was waiting for the right moment to move.’
      • ‘I thought it was the right moment to do it, and I thought we'd come out with a new album later.’
      • ‘He seemed to follow her like an owl stalking its prey, waiting for the right moment to strike.’
      • ‘By failing to protest at the right moment, I missed the chance of being heard.’
      • ‘I took his dagger, hiding it in the folds of my gown, waiting for the right moment to use it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although we entertained the idea of one of us moving, it just never seemed to be the right moment.’
      • ‘He has a knack for bringing closure to each of his 10 tracks at just the right moment.’
    3. 1.3 A particular stage in the development of something or in a course of events.
      ‘one of the great moments in aviation history’
      • ‘Most hypertext theorists rightly take his article as a key moment in the conceptual development of hypertext.’
      • ‘Yet, they are, in fact, moments of history captured while still in the making.’
      • ‘We find ourselves at a historical moment in the course of a major change.’
      • ‘The psychologically savvy custodian is adept at pinpointing key moments in his development.’
      • ‘Depending on your tastes, it was a golden moment in the history of British music or a cringe-making aural atrocity.’
      • ‘It's more a genial look at the origins and peak moments of different fads in 20th Century America.’
      • ‘There will also be a photo display where you can view the past year's golden moments at the club.’
      • ‘The event marked an historic moment for the school as it was the most money ever raised for a charity.’
      • ‘I think they describe what the psychologists call life stage transition moments and these happen to everyone a number of times.’
      • ‘Both have been a way of marking significant moments in my personal development.’
      • ‘It was one of several pivotal moments in his development.’
      • ‘This dramatic episode in history is just the most recent in a century of twists and turns, ugly events and revolutionary moments.’
      • ‘Many times the country has been marred at critical moments in its development, as was the case with the attack on the Pope.’
      • ‘The forthcoming convention on the future of a new Europe is going to be a key moment in the development of the EU.’
      • ‘While the Cimento did not survive, it appeared at a crucial moment in the development of early modern science.’
      • ‘Concord was the setting of many of my formative moments.’
      • ‘It is therefore exposed to a disproportionately high dose of chemicals at a critical moment of its development.’
      • ‘She looks back on China as a significant moment in her development as a 400m runner.’
      • ‘I mean, it was one of the most exciting political moments that I can remember, watching these two men debate live.’
      • ‘What can we learn from earlier moments and events in world history that also brought cinema and reality into mutual crisis?’
      • ‘There comes a moment in the development of a team when it cannot stand still.’
      point in time, point, time, hour, juncture, stage
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  • 2formal mass noun Importance.

    ‘the issues were of little moment to the electorate’
    • ‘Martyrs' relics and graves seemed of little moment in a world about to be consumed by fire.’
    • ‘Nothing of any importance or moment was really happening, but it appeared to be.’
    • ‘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
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  • 3Physics
    A turning effect produced by a force acting at a distance on an object.

    • ‘Here's the sneaky part - we use that fact that atoms with the wrong moments are kicked out of the trap.’
    • ‘The team used samarium, an element whose spin and orbital moments are opposite and vary with temperature.’
    • ‘The relative size of the control surface in relation to its location also will determine the magnitude of the moments.’
    1. 3.1 The 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.
      • ‘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.’
  • 4Statistics
    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.

    • ‘And the second moment gives way to a third, and so on, thus yielding the natural numbers.’
    • ‘It follows from substitution and rearrangement that the expected value of the second moment of y about x is [(1 / k) + F ST].’
    • ‘Just below the surface of the sand, values of the second moment of area either levelled off or increased slightly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In that case, one has a finite value of the first moment, i.e., of the average jump length.’


  • 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’
      • ‘Whether it's fire or flood, disaster is never far away and can strike 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.’
      • ‘She was back, this time to tell us that the delay was continuing but that we should be moving at any moment.’
      • ‘She has the rather adventurous view that life can change at any moment.’
      • ‘Immigration officials could knock on their door at any moment and take them away with only what they can carry.’
      • ‘Anyway, I watched every frame expecting the screen to go black at any moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I then go on to describe every bad thing that has ever happened to me, and some that haven't, but could at any moment.’
      • ‘I'm still expecting to see one scuttle out from under the sofa at any moment.’
  • at the (or this) moment

    • At the present time; now.

      ‘he's in bed at the moment’
      • ‘It seems that the web and politics have become my current fascination at the moment.’
      • ‘We've got a little bit of momentum with us at the moment and we've got to continue that.’
      • ‘Confidence is high at the moment because we've won two and drawn one of the last three.’
      • ‘The climate for favourable penalty treatment will never be better than it is at this moment.’
      • ‘And at this moment in time, she's just as brilliantly oblivious as she ever was.’
      • ‘At the moment, the development site is a derelict chunk of land next to the river and close to Manchester city centre.’
      • ‘We managed to get some funds out but not very much as there is no foreign currency to buy at the moment.’
      • ‘Pointing accusing fingers at this moment would only aggravate the pain of those mourning.’
      • ‘At the moment we have computer courses, for beginners, foundation level and level one.’
      • ‘All of the team seem to be enjoying the game at the moment with everyone contributing.’
      at present, just now, right now, at this time, at the present time, currently, presently, at this moment in time
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  • at this moment in time

    • At the present instant; now.

      ‘at this moment in time we need more donors’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Let me say that at this moment in time, I am very happy.’
      • ‘At this moment in time we're not playing well, but we just have to stick together and come through this bad patch.’
      • ‘I'm not saying that the youngster will get to the same level as the Frenchman but he is certainly on course to at this moment in time.’
      • ‘No work needs to be done by the department at this moment in time.’
      • ‘If you asked me at this moment in time if I was going to discover anything, I'd have to say, "I don't know".’
  • for the moment

    • For now.

      ‘I decided that, for the moment, I'd keep quiet’
      • ‘However, in general it's so far OK as drama goes, and I'll stick with it for the moment.’
      • ‘For the moment, he's happy to be at home with his parents in London and his dog Molly.’
      • ‘There was, if such a thing is possible, a kind of awkward grace that he exhibited that was perfect for the moment.’
      • ‘I have not done it up properly yet and there are many words missing, but it will do for the moment.’
      • ‘In town there is, for the moment, nothing for me or any honest man to do.’
      • ‘Whatever the truth of that it seems likely that, for the moment, the spending settlement will stick.’
      • ‘I will dismiss the silliness of the notion for the moment, and run with the premise.’
      • ‘I've done all the concentrated philosophical reading I need to do for the moment.’
      • ‘I hope he will be able to work with me again in the future but I think he is to busy with his music for the moment.’
      • ‘It is my opinion that, for the moment, they will not be enticed into the institution.’
      for now, for the moment, for the present, in the interim, for the nonce, for the meantime, in the meantime, in the meanwhile
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  • have a moment

    • informal Be currently popular or in fashion.

      ‘Brady believes foreign language films definitely had a moment about seven years ago’
      • ‘The cable knit sweater is also having a fashion moment of its own.’
      • ‘The sunglasses had a moment a few years ago, but the classic shades have been around for years.’
      • ‘While the bob has many guises, the iconic style is currently having a moment.’
      • ‘Industrious Oporto is definitely having a moment - its unglamorous and unfancied football team, F. C. Porto, won the European club championship in May.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Newcastle did have their moments, but Sullivan's strong left arm kept Wimbledon in the game.’
      • ‘The orchestral covers from Porgy and Bess are slightly less inspired, but have their moments.’
      • ‘The rest of the acting is more mixed, though each has his moments.’
      • ‘To these untrained eyes he easily put Pele into the shade, though Pele did have his moments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm not that great at pool, but I do have my moments - and I especially love taking down the arrogant ones.’
      • ‘Nietzsche certainly has his moments, as does Schopenhauer, but these are glimmers of mordancy compared to Kierkegaard's determined flippancy.’
      • ‘That said, the Bond movies do have their moments.’
      • ‘Everyone on the show has their moments in my opinion.’
  • in a moment

    • 1Very soon.

      ‘I'll be back in a moment’
      • ‘We'll have the details when we return in a moment.’
      • ‘I will be out of here in a moment, as soon as I find the door.’
      • ‘We'll talk about this teaching aspect in a moment.’
      • ‘‘I'll have it out in a moment,’ the waitress noted quickly and left to pick it up.’
      • ‘I want to talk to you about Washington in a moment.’
      • ‘There are other references to that sort of concept which I will come to in a moment as quickly as I can.’
      • ‘‘I'll be down in a moment,’ she offered quickly, reaching down to grab at her boots.’
      • ‘We'll have the results here coming up in a moment.’
      • ‘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 no time, in less than no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long
      View synonyms
    • 2Instantly.

      ‘the fugitive was captured in a moment’
      • ‘Burge drove straight out, and in a moment, was on the highway.’
      • ‘Her eyes suddenly flowed over and in a moment, she was crying freely.’
      • ‘He popped the pill and swallowed in a moment and sighed as the drug quickly took effect.’
      • ‘The resulting sculptures are almost spookily realistic - every pore, fissure, sinew or callus can be captured in a moment - immortalised in stone or metal.’
      • ‘A career was predicted in a moment, a life foretold in an instant.’
      • ‘The sky, which was once golden, turned white and grey in a moment as lords and ladies ran for cover.’
      • ‘Phillip moved swiftly and was beside her in a moment, pulling her into his strong embrace.’
      • ‘Your lives can be changed in a moment, with a sudden call to duty.’
      • ‘He read the parchment instantaneously and figured out the complicated prophecy in a moment.’
      immediately, at once, straight away, right away, instantaneously, suddenly, abruptly, all of a sudden, on the instant, at a stroke, forthwith, then and there, there and then, here and now, that minute, this minute, that very minute, this very minute, that instant, this instant
      View synonyms
  • in the moment

    • Fully focused on or mentally involved in what one is doing or experiencing.

      ‘the night goes so quickly—you just have to remember to stay in the moment’
  • live for the moment

    • Live or act without worrying about the future.

      ‘Pisceans hate routine and like to live for the moment’
      • ‘In other words, it made some people live for the future and others live for the moment.’
      • ‘She was a lot of fun, popular, and lived for the moment.’
      • ‘Shouldn't I just live for the moment and make the best of what I do have?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have learned to live for the moment from all this and I have learned that nothing is trivial, nothing should be taken for granted.’
      • ‘I'm constantly trying to teach myself to take each day as it comes and to live for the moment.’
      • ‘His brother John said: ‘He was just a happy-go-lucky person, who lived for the moment and was everybody's friend.’’
      • ‘He lives for the moment, instead of dwelling on what might be, and what has been.’
      • ‘So there's something wonderful about an exhibition which urges you to relax and live for the moment.’
  • the moment —

    • As soon as —

      ‘the heavens opened the moment we left the house’
      • ‘Dogs and cats instinctively know the moment their owners will wake up.’
      • ‘He was summoned into action the moment his plane landed.’
      • ‘James sat waiting, and the moment his gaze caught hers she ran into his arms.’
      • ‘Pray that nobody remembers the countless rockers who signed away their souls on recording contracts and were dumped the moment their sales slipped.’
      • ‘The moment my exams were over, I put down the Shakespeare and Chaucer, and started reading trashy horror novels.’
      • ‘Mothers are, of course, notorious for clearing your most favourite possessions out of your bedroom the moment your back is turned.’
      • ‘In fact, I said yes immediately, the moment that Mum had finished speaking, the moment the question mark had left her mouth.’
      • ‘Whatever the reason, we went out like lights the moment our heads touched our pillows and woke only when we heard the clatter of coffee cups outside our room.’
      • ‘Let us hope that, as of today, drivers will tighten their seat belts the moment their cars begin to move.’
      • ‘These tactics protect the military's house of cards for a while but it collapses the moment the principal actor is removed.’
  • 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’
      • ‘There comes a moment of truth when we ask ourselves, what is compassion?’
      • ‘After all, it is neither a moment of truth nor a turning point for two of the three characters.’
      • ‘It was for many the moment of truth in the association's history.’
      • ‘The fuel crisis has brought us to a moment of truth.’
      • ‘At the moment of truth, I immediately felt it was a perfect shot.’
      • ‘He said he had that moment of truth and realized that his position was untenable and he could not continue as the finance minister.’
      • ‘‘Tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world,’ the president said at a news conference.’
      • ‘The dramatic climax is Esther's moment of truth, when she summons the courage to risk her life for her people.’
      • ‘Could Britain soon be facing a similar moment of truth?’
      • ‘Only after they complete their struggles against their opponents will they reach the moment of truth, where they will have to seriously deal with the road map.’
  • not a moment too soon

    • Almost too late.

      • ‘West Vancouver council's plan to install universal water meters in the district has come not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘Warren, who needed a birdie at the last to make the cut in Wales and got it, admits his move into the professional ranks came not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘Quickly, he lunged out of the elevator, and did so not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘Authorities the world over are waking up to this fact and so now we see smoking bans imposed in many public places, 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.’
      • ‘My cold seems to be finally on the way out, not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘At last, this government has promised action against these few: and not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘They had finally arrived at Creste - and not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘The improvements come not a moment too soon, as the road ahead for the Warriors grows even more daunting.’
      • ‘Finally, the show was to begin and not a moment too soon.’
      just in time, not a moment too soon, almost too late, at the critical moment
      View synonyms
  • not for a (or one) moment

    • Not at all; never.

      ‘she had not for one moment doubted that everything would go her way’
      • ‘‘I never ever doubted him, not for a moment,’ said the pilot's fiancée Helena.’
      • ‘I am not for one moment suggesting we do not have a serious problem.’
      • ‘I do not for one moment doubt the medical evidence and I respect the choice of others to live in a safe environment.’
      • ‘You can never escape the sense of insecurity and conflict, not for a moment.’
      • ‘I wish to make it clear that I do not for one moment suggest that any member of the board is or has been guilty of any dishonesty or disreputable comment.’
      • ‘I take no comfort from that, at all - not for one moment.’
      • ‘He wasn't fooled, not for a moment, but he wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of a reaction.’
      • ‘Yet not for a moment would he consider moving out to a place of his own, which he surely could have afforded.’
      • ‘Keira has done really well, and not for one moment am I jealous of her success.’
      • ‘It is something we should never ever tolerate - not for a moment.’
      not at all, certainly not, not for a moment, not in any circumstances, not under any circumstances, in no circumstances, under no circumstances, on no account
      View synonyms
  • of the moment

    • Currently popular, famous, or important.

      ‘the buzzword of the moment’
      • ‘Building more roads, tolled to discourage people from using them, is the curious logic of the moment.’
      • ‘While white does look good and seems to be the colour of the moment, I am worried that this will not be the case in a couple of years.’
      • ‘We're on our way to the festival, on a tour bus with one of the hot British bands of the moment!’
      • ‘What counts is the impression of doing something, of taking quick decisions to respond to the issue of the moment.’
      • ‘Virtualization is the buzzword of the moment for hardware and software makers alike.’
      • ‘Now it's the buzzword of the moment and it could be a key issue in the coming Federal election.’
      • ‘Pinot is the word, the wine of the moment, whether it be Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir.’
      • ‘Indifference seems to be the more prevalent mood of the moment.’
      • ‘For trendies, it's the season's must-have piece of kit, the garment of the moment.’
      • ‘There are a thousand sites on the net which duplicate the popular links of the moment.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Excuse me one moment but am I right in thinking that there are at least two unemployed people in the UK?’
      wait, wait a minute, just a moment, just a second, stay here, stay put, remain here
      View synonyms
  • share a moment

    • informal Experience a joint sensation of heightened emotion.

      ‘Alan and Bridget shared a moment yesterday after the memorial service’
      • ‘He continued to smile, as if he was sharing a moment that only one of them was privy to.’
      • ‘They gazed into each others eyes and suddenly they shared a moment, a moment which seemed to connect them to one another.’
      • ‘I caught the trainer's eye and I think we may have shared a moment of mutual appreciation.’
      • ‘Then he sees Charlotte for real, across the street, walking toward the karaoke joint where they shared a moment.’
      • ‘I just - I just feel that we shared a moment.’
      • ‘I don't think that I'll see her again, but we shared a moment that will last till the end.’
      • ‘We shared a moment of communion.’
      • ‘Once inside, the crowds will share a moment of silence.’
      • ‘One of the best ways to experience personal closeness with your child is to share a moment in laughter.’
      • ‘Their smiles were infectious and I couldn't help but share a moment with them.’


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