mil·​li·​sec·​ond | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌse-kənd How to pronounce millisecond (audio) , -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 in the league office in New York, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron and vice president of replay Russell Yurk will remain ready to play judge and jury with the benefit of frame-by-frame millisecond analysis. Dan Wiederer,, "Pass-interference calls will be reviewable this season for the 1st time in NFL history: ‘Who knows how this is going to go?'," 31 July 2019 Fast radio bursts are powerful and mysterious millisecond bursts of radio waves. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Fast radio burst came from galaxy 7.9 billion light-years away," 2 July 2019 These new systems marry the best machines capabilities—360-degree sensing and millisecond reflexes—with the best of the human brain, such as our ability to come up with novel solutions to unique problems. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Self-Driving Cars Have a Problem: Safer Human-Driven Ones," 15 June 2019 These are millisecond-long blips of intense and unexplained radio signals that pop up all over the sky, temporarily outshining radio pulsars in our galaxy despite being perhaps a million times farther away. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Astronomers Think They Can Explain Mysterious Cosmic Bursts," 10 Mar. 2019 The agency could do a license check in less than a minute online or in milliseconds if the process is automated. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "What Can Be Done Right Now to Stop a Basic Source of Health Care Fraud," 19 July 2019 Though the fleeting barrage lasted mere milliseconds, scientists were able to trace the radio burst back to its source: A galaxy roughly four billion light-years away in the constellation Grus, the crane. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Bizarre radio burst traced back to its origin in deep space," 27 June 2019 The system uses cameras, radar and lidar to determine when a collision is unavoidable, igniting the air bag milliseconds before the oncoming vehicle strikes. Mark Phelan, USA TODAY, "Exterior airbag could be the next big thing in auto safety. Here's how it works," 10 June 2019 The arrival of magnetised cubes in 2016 has allowed for more accurate twisting, helping to shave off valuable milliseconds. The Economist, "Speedcubers are solving Rubik’s Cubes at ever-faster speeds," 11 July 2019

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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Statistics for millisecond

Last Updated

15 Aug 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 How to pronounce millisecond (audio) \

Medical Definition of millisecond

: one thousandth of a second abbreviation ms, msec

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with millisecond

Comments on millisecond

What made you want to look up millisecond? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not constant or steady

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