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

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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

Under certain circumstances, the question of whether a particular string of letters constitutes a word can assume a momentary prominence, with money or honor on the line. Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books, "Cornering the Word Market," 17 June 2019 The momentary pause on Heathrow's runways comes just a few weeks after a mysterious drone sighting stymied all air traffic at Gatwick Airport during the height of holiday travel for roughly 36 hours. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Another Drone Sighting Shuts Down the UK's Busiest Airport," 8 Jan. 2019 Modern Markets Initiative, a lobbying group representing fast-trading firms, counters that market structure and regulation don’t allow anyone to profitably exploit, or arbitrage, momentary discrepancies in stock prices. Cezary Podkul, WSJ, "Brief Price Gaps in Stocks Cost Investors $2 Billion a Year," 14 Feb. 2019 The choreographic moves, more busy than rewarding to the eye, include some isolated, acrobatic lifts and momentary, stuttery accentuations for extended arms that mimic beating wings. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘ABT Women’s Movement’ Review: Creative Empowerment," 23 Oct. 2018 In between, a momentary lapse was the Marlins needed to build a lead off Richard. Jeff Sanders,, "Franmil Reyes homers in third straight game as Padres walk off with win," 30 May 2018 Under President Barack Obama, every spending deadline seemed to require at least a momentary crisis. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the blame game over the government shutdown is pointless," 21 Dec. 2018 And everyone was aware that a momentary slip or lapse in concentration would send him plummeting to his death, again in front of those cameras. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The 10 best documentaries of 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 As thousands of travelers dash to catch a flight en route to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, there’s rarely time to give one’s airport style more than a momentary thought. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How to Look Devastatingly Good at the Airport, According to These Hollywood Icons," 17 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of momentary

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

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Statistics for momentary

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for momentary

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

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More Definitions for momentary



English Language Learners Definition of momentary

: lasting a very short time : lasting only a moment


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

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Comments on momentary

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


to take the place or position of

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