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

    ‘the issues were of little moment to the electorate’
    • ‘His diplomacy won over only the Illyrian king Genthius, whose support proved of little moment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
  • 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 relative size of the control surface in relation to its location also will determine the magnitude of the moments.’
    • ‘The team used samarium, an element whose spin and orbital moments are opposite and vary with temperature.’
    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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Just below the surface of the sand, values of the second moment of area either levelled off or increased slightly.’
    • ‘In that case, one has a finite value of the first moment, i.e., of the average jump length.’
    • ‘It follows from substitution and rearrangement that the expected value of the second moment of y about x is [(1 / k) + F ST].’


  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was back, this time to tell us that the delay was continuing but that we should be moving at any moment.’
      • ‘Anyway, I watched every frame expecting the screen to go black at any moment.’
      • ‘Immigration officials could knock on their door at any moment and take them away with only what they can carry.’
      • ‘There is too much to see, and the vaporettos are so heavily laden, they look as if they may sink at any moment.’
      • ‘Dark clouds that kept gathering in the sky from afternoon threatened to burst at any moment.’
      • ‘The excuse was usually that, although restored to fitness, the illness could strike again at any moment.’
      • ‘I'm still expecting to see one scuttle out from under the sofa at any moment.’
      • ‘She has the rather adventurous view that life can change at any moment.’
      • ‘Whether it's fire or flood, disaster is never far away and can strike at any moment.’
  • at the (or this) moment

    • At the present time; now.

      ‘he's in bed at the moment’
      • ‘At the moment, the development site is a derelict chunk of land next to the river and close to Manchester city centre.’
      • ‘All of the team seem to be enjoying the game at the moment with everyone contributing.’
      • ‘Pointing accusing fingers at this moment would only aggravate the pain of those mourning.’
      • ‘It seems that the web and politics have become my current fascination at the moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Confidence is high at the moment because we've won two and drawn one of the last three.’
      • ‘We've got a little bit of momentum with us at the moment and we've got to continue that.’
      • ‘At the moment we have computer courses, for beginners, foundation level and level one.’
      • ‘We managed to get some funds out but not very much as there is no foreign currency to buy at the moment.’
      at present, just now, right now, at this time, at the present time, currently, presently, at this moment in time
      View synonyms
  • at this moment in time

    • At the present instant; now.

      ‘at this moment in time we need more donors’
      • ‘No work needs to be done by the department at this moment in time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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".’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • for the moment

    • For now.

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

    • informal Be currently popular or in fashion.

      ‘Brady believes foreign language films definitely had a moment about seven years ago’
      • ‘While the bob has many guises, the iconic style is currently having a moment.’
      • ‘The sunglasses had a moment a few years ago, but the classic shades have been around for years.’
      • ‘The cable knit sweater is also having a fashion moment of its own.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘That said, the Bond movies do have their moments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To these untrained eyes he easily put Pele into the shade, though Pele did have his moments.’
      • ‘Everyone on the show has their moments in my opinion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The orchestral covers from Porgy and Bess are slightly less inspired, but have their moments.’
      • ‘Newcastle did have their moments, but Sullivan's strong left arm kept Wimbledon in the game.’
      • ‘The rest of the acting is more mixed, though each has his moments.’
      • ‘Nietzsche certainly has his moments, as does Schopenhauer, but these are glimmers of mordancy compared to Kierkegaard's determined flippancy.’
  • in a moment

    • 1Very soon.

      ‘I'll be back in a moment’
      • ‘‘I'll be down in a moment,’ she offered quickly, reaching down to grab at her boots.’
      • ‘I want to talk to you about Washington in a moment.’
      • ‘We shall see why this doubleness is so important in a moment.’
      • ‘We'll talk about this teaching aspect in a moment.’
      • ‘I will be out of here in a moment, as soon as I find the door.’
      • ‘‘I'll have it out in a moment,’ the waitress noted quickly and left to pick it up.’
      • ‘I will be removing some people from the Chamber in a moment, very quickly.’
      • ‘We'll have the results here coming up in a moment.’
      • ‘We'll have the details when we return 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.’
      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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He popped the pill and swallowed in a moment and sighed as the drug quickly took effect.’
      • ‘The sky, which was once golden, turned white and grey in a moment as lords and ladies ran for cover.’
      • ‘Her eyes suddenly flowed over and in a moment, she was crying freely.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘She was a lot of fun, popular, and lived for the moment.’
      • ‘I'm constantly trying to teach myself to take each day as it comes and to live for the moment.’
      • ‘They are the carefree ones - the dare-devils who live for the moment and leave the future to look after itself.’
      • ‘In other words, it made some people live for the future and others live for the moment.’
      • ‘I'm just living for the moment, not daring to think about what the future holds.’
      • ‘He lives for the moment, instead of dwelling on what might be, and what has been.’
      • ‘Shouldn't I just live for the moment and make the best of what I do have?’
      • ‘His brother John said: ‘He was just a happy-go-lucky person, who lived for the moment and was everybody's friend.’’
      • ‘So there's something wonderful about an exhibition which urges you to relax and live for the moment.’
      • ‘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.’
  • the moment —

    • As soon as —

      ‘the heavens opened the moment we left the house’
      • ‘The moment my exams were over, I put down the Shakespeare and Chaucer, and started reading trashy horror novels.’
      • ‘Dogs and cats instinctively know the moment their owners will wake up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pray that nobody remembers the countless rockers who signed away their souls on recording contracts and were dumped the moment their sales slipped.’
      • ‘James sat waiting, and the moment his gaze caught hers she ran into his arms.’
      • ‘He was summoned into action the moment his plane landed.’
      • ‘In fact, I said yes immediately, the moment that Mum had finished speaking, the moment the question mark had left her mouth.’
      • ‘Mothers are, of course, notorious for clearing your most favourite possessions out of your bedroom the moment your back is turned.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘He said he had that moment of truth and realized that his position was untenable and he could not continue as the finance minister.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was for many the moment of truth in the association's history.’
      • ‘There comes a moment of truth when we ask ourselves, what is compassion?’
      • ‘At the moment of truth, I immediately felt it was a perfect shot.’
      • ‘After all, it is neither a moment of truth nor a turning point for two of the three characters.’
      • ‘The fuel crisis has brought us to a moment of truth.’
      • ‘The dramatic climax is Esther's moment of truth, when she summons the courage to risk her life for her people.’
      • ‘‘Tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world,’ the president said at a news conference.’
  • not a moment too soon

    • Almost too late.

      • ‘My cold seems to be finally on the way out, not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘West Vancouver council's plan to install universal water meters in the district has come not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘The improvements come not a moment too soon, as the road ahead for the Warriors grows even more daunting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Finally, the show was to begin and not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘Quickly, he lunged out of the elevator, and did so not a moment too soon.’
      • ‘At last, this government has promised action against these few: and 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.’
      • ‘After an unexpected delay, the Bulgarian winter has finally arrived - and not a moment too soon for the country's ski resorts.’
      • ‘They had finally arrived at Creste - 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 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.’
      • ‘Yet not for a moment would he consider moving out to a place of his own, which he surely could have afforded.’
      • ‘It is something we should never ever tolerate - 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.’
      • ‘Keira has done really well, and not for one moment am I jealous of her success.’
      • ‘‘I never ever doubted him, not for a moment,’ said the pilot's fiancée Helena.’
      • ‘You can never escape the sense of insecurity and conflict, not for a moment.’
      • ‘He wasn't fooled, not for a moment, but he wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of a reaction.’
      • ‘I take no comfort from that, at all - not for one 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’
      • ‘For trendies, it's the season's must-have piece of kit, the garment of the moment.’
      • ‘Indifference seems to be the more prevalent mood of the moment.’
      • ‘Pinot is the word, the wine of the moment, whether it be Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir.’
      • ‘Building more roads, tolled to discourage people from using them, is the curious logic of the moment.’
      • ‘Virtualization is the buzzword of the moment for hardware and software makers alike.’
      • ‘What counts is the impression of doing something, of taking quick decisions to respond to the issue 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.’
      • ‘Now it's the buzzword of the moment and it could be a key issue in the coming Federal election.’
      • ‘There are a thousand sites on the net which duplicate the popular links of the moment.’
      • ‘We're on our way to the festival, on a tour bus with one of the hot British bands 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.’
      • ‘Then he sees Charlotte for real, across the street, walking toward the karaoke joint where they shared a moment.’
      • ‘I caught the trainer's eye and I think we may have shared a moment of mutual appreciation.’
      • ‘One of the best ways to experience personal closeness with your child is to share a moment in laughter.’
      • ‘We shared a moment of communion.’
      • ‘They gazed into each others eyes and suddenly they shared a moment, a moment which seemed to connect them to one another.’
      • ‘I don't think that I'll see her again, but we shared a moment that will last till the end.’
      • ‘Once inside, the crowds will share a moment of silence.’
      • ‘I just - I just feel that we shared a moment.’
      • ‘Their smiles were infectious and I couldn't help but share a moment with them.’


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