split-sec·​ond | \ ˈsplit-ˈse-kənd How to pronounce split-second (audio) \

Definition of split-second

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : occurring in a split second a split-second decision
2 : extremely precise split-second timing

split second


Definition of split second (Entry 2 of 2)

: a fractional part of a second : flash

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of split-second in a Sentence

Noun In a split second, it was all over. a devastating accident can cause everything in your life to change in a split second
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For a split second, Imperceptibly over her beauty spot. Monita Soni, al, "A Christmas story," 14 Dec. 2020 For a split second during Tuesday night’s bull riding competition at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the camera following the action at Globe Life Field focused on three people who had no intention of getting atop the animals. Tess Demeyer, Dallas News, "Inside a typical day in the life of a bullfighter, the unsung heroes of National Finals Rodeo," 10 Dec. 2020 However, if an offense can show them some misdirection to get one or both out of position, even for a split second, they can be beaten. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: A look at one way offenses are trying to combat Colts' team speed," 5 Dec. 2020 And a split second later, East Carolina defensive back David Laney was running in the other direction as his teammates raced alongside him in the second quarter — a drive that ended with the Pirates up by 21. Sam Blum, Dallas News, "SMU’s conference title hopes go up in smoke after losing to 3-win East Carolina," 28 Nov. 2020 In a split second of footage, bright orange numbers tick up on a display. Washington Post, "A feel for the game," 2 Nov. 2020 In that split second—from out of nowhere—a car ran the red light at 80 mph. Spencer Mcfadden Hoge And Cynthia Mcfadden, Town & Country, "This Family Road Trip Might Be the Greatest Driving Lesson Ever," 25 Oct. 2020 But, again, the interlude lasted but a split second. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "Hunting Black Bears with Hounds in the Famed Bruin Swamps of North Carolina," 7 Oct. 2020 It’s one of those things that can happen in a split second. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "Cheryl Burke Bumped Her Head During a Scary Fall on DWTS Rehearsal," 27 Oct. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of split-second


1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1912, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about split-second

Time Traveler for split-second

Time Traveler

The first known use of split-second was in 1912

See more words from the same year

Statistics for split-second

Cite this Entry

“Split-second.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/split-second. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for split-second


How to pronounce split second (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of split-second

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: done very quickly
: very accurate or precise

split second


English Language Learners Definition of split second (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very short period of time

More from Merriam-Webster on split-second

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for split-second

Comments on split-second

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!