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 Those precious milliseconds can cost you an epic win. Popular Science, "The 100 greatest innovations of 2019," 3 Dec. 2019 Replay had an unintended effect when a runner slides and his foot loses contact with a base for a millisecond. Bobby Nightengale,, "Opinion: Ideas Major League Baseball should consider during an abbreviated season," 30 Apr. 2020 Even if the pandemic is completely solved by the day Clare’s season debuts, the lingering concerns of this distressing period won’t disappear the millisecond the Bachelorette sees a handsome 25-year-old stumble out of a limo. Ariana Romero,, "We’ll Never Be Able To Watch The Bachelor The Same Again After Quarantine," 9 Apr. 2020 Often lasting less than a millisecond, the bursts release an incredible amount of energy in the radio frequencies, then go silent. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Closest-ever fast radio burst makes some ideas on their origin less likely," 7 Jan. 2020 But other spots were placed in milliseconds through an automated bidding process, created to help companies better target consumers. Tiffany Hsu, New York Times, "Cruise Line Ads Get Caught in a Coronavirus News Cycle," 10 Mar. 2020 Remember when Ferrari used to quote shift times for its single-clutch transmissions in milliseconds? Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "2020 Polaris Slingshot Still Perplexes Us," 23 Jan. 2020 There is an area where the pit crews practice for hours daily to shave off a millisecond during a race's refueling and tire change stop. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Man who paid $3M for 2020 Corvette Stingray says he'll never drive it," 23 Jan. 2020 The Sentinel detects gunshots in less than 500 milliseconds and then reports it to connected security and alarm systems. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin companies raised over $200 million in venture capital last year. These are the 10 biggest deals.," 14 Jan. 2020

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

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for millisecond

Time Traveler

The first known use of millisecond was in 1909

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Statistics for millisecond

Cite this Entry

“Millisecond.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for millisecond


How to pronounce millisecond (audio)

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

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