mil·​li·​sec·​ond | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌse-kənd , -kənt\

Definition of millisecond

: one thousandth of a second

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Did You Know?

A millisecond isn't long enough for the blink of an eye, but a few milliseconds may determine the winner of a swim race or a hundred-yard dash. With the ever-increasing speed of modern technology, even a millisecond has started to seem a little sluggish; computer operations are now measured in nanoseconds—that is, billionths of a second.

Examples of millisecond in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And a vowel followed by two consonants added a final 30 milliseconds. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "If you listen closely, the drumbeats of Amazonian tribes sound like human speech," 24 Apr. 2018 While the kernel scheduler makes decisions on the millisecond or microsecond level, activity manager service tracks these kinds of macro-interactions, like, what services are running? Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "“P is for Power”—Android engineers talk battery life improvements in Android P," 1 Aug. 2018 This sensor system, combined with gyroscope and accelerometer input from the headset, estimates your head position every millisecond. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Oculus Quest, a fully wireless VR headset, shipping spring 2019 for $399," 26 Sep. 2018 On the other hand, qubits in this type of system hold their quantum state for only milliseconds—thousandths of a second—so any operation must be completed in that time. Neil Savage, Scientific American, "Quantum Computers Compete for “Supremacy"," 5 July 2017 According to an Nvidia representative, early implementations of cloud gaming services like OnLive suffered from delays of 100 milliseconds or more. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider over 5G, and it didn't suck," 11 Sep. 2018 The silent desolation of the building seemingly ballooned the milliseconds between each tick, filling a temporal chasm which seemed longer than a second. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "An empty US Capitol after McCain’s death is sobering reminder that the clock is ticking," 28 Aug. 2018 Even if the differences cancel each other out on the scale of seconds or minutes, small fluctuations could make the clock less effective on a millisecond or nanosecond scale. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Here Is the World's Most Stable Atomic Clock," 28 Nov. 2016 In fact, days are lengthening by only 1.8 milliseconds a century, said Stephen Meyers, a geoscientist at the University of Wisconsin and a co-author of the study. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Days on Earth are getting longer, but don't get too excited," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'millisecond.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of millisecond

1909, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for millisecond

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

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The first known use of millisecond was in 1909

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English Language Learners Definition of millisecond

: one thousandth of a second


mil·​li·​sec·​ond | \ ˈmil-ə-ˌsek-ənd, -ənt \

Medical Definition of millisecond

: one thousandth of a second abbreviation ms, msec

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