mo·​men·​tary | \ ˈmō-mən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce momentary (audio) \

Definition of momentary

1a : continuing only a moment : fleeting
b : having a very brief life
2 : operative or recurring at every moment

Other Words from momentary

momentariness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for momentary

transient, transitory, ephemeral, momentary, fugitive, fleeting, evanescent mean lasting or staying only a short time. transient applies to what is actually short in its duration or stay. a hotel catering primarily to transient guests transitory applies to what is by its nature or essence bound to change, pass, or come to an end. fame in the movies is transitory ephemeral implies striking brevity of life or duration. many slang words are ephemeral momentary suggests coming and going quickly and therefore being merely a brief interruption of a more enduring state. my feelings of guilt were only momentary fugitive and fleeting imply passing so quickly as to make apprehending difficult. let a fugitive smile flit across his face fleeting moments of joy evanescent suggests a quick vanishing and an airy or fragile quality. the story has an evanescent touch of whimsy that is lost in translation

Examples of momentary in a Sentence

He experienced a momentary loss of consciousness. the pain of the flu shot was only momentary
Recent Examples on the Web Although momentary relief came when multiple attempts to escape one particularly problematic river bend finally yielded success, the subsequent hour between our boats and the take-out point added a heavy dose of reality. J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, 4 May 2022 Tilting his thick, hefty tail backward to seesaw the front half of his body up, the dinosaur slowly steps and scrapes and rubs against the rough trunks, the friction sending momentary relief over the pebble-like scales covering his body. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Apr. 2022 Reggaeton took a momentary backseat to regional Mexican music when the many members of Grupo Firme hopped to the stage with instruments in hand. Luis Gomez, Billboard, 1 May 2022 Our experience shows that a momentary rocker switch is better because after the machine is switched off, the switch automatically springs back to the Start position. Alex Rennie, Popular Mechanics, 29 Apr. 2022 Musk is an insanely rich person and a genuine weirdo who seems to be, like many extremely rich people, governed entirely by momentary whims. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 Inside this cocoon, the winds ceased, giving momentary shelter. Mark Johanson, Travel + Leisure, 23 Apr. 2022 Or perhaps there really isn’t any value in abiding by Ethical AI and that the whole shenanigans about AI ethics are merely one of those momentary fads. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 While happiness has more to do with satisfying one’s momentary needs, meaning is about serving a higher purpose. Modar Bakir, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of momentary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of momentary was in the 15th century

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moment by moment

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Momentary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for momentary


mo·​men·​tary | \ ˈmō-mən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce momentary (audio) \

Kids Definition of momentary

: lasting only a very brief time The loud noise gave us a momentary fright.

Other Words from momentary

momentarily \ ˌmō-​mən-​ˈter-​ə-​lē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on momentary

Nglish: Translation of momentary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of momentary for Arabic Speakers


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