leap second

noun

: an intercalary second added to Coordinated Universal Time to compensate for the slowing of the earth's rotation and keep Coordinated Universal Time in synchrony with solar time

Examples of leap second in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Although the leap second has its defenders (mostly Russia, whose GLONASS satellites are designed with the leap second in mind), the time anomaly’s most ardent opponents include the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and nearly the entire technological world. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, 29 Nov. 2022 The nation's satellite positioning system, GLONASS, was built with leap seconds in mind, and reworking the system would seemingly be taxing. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 Nov. 2023 After an initial insertion of 10 leap seconds in 1972, timekeepers now add a leap second to atomic time roughly every year and a half. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Whether a regular leap second or a negative leap second is called for, in fact, these tiny changes can be a massive headache for industries ranging from telecommunications to navigation systems. Kate Golembiewski, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2021 To avoid this Google added a millisecond of time to their servers with each update so they were caught up with the new time when the leap second occurred. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 21 May 2015 As a result, the international time community has had to insert periodic leap seconds into the scale. Tom Vanderbilt, Harper’s Magazine , 13 Mar. 2023 The leap second’s days, so to speak, are numbered. Rahul Rao, Popular Science, 20 Feb. 2023 The most recent leap second was added in 2016. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 2 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leap second.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of leap second was in 1971

Dictionary Entries Near leap second

Cite this Entry

“Leap second.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leap%20second. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!