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

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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 In the second, Helen misses her train, by one split second, and therefore remains unaware of the infidelity. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Americans Are Living in an Alternate History," 6 July 2020 In the first split second afterward, many physicists posit, the universe went through a phase of extremely rapid expansion: a process called inflation. Brendan Z. Foster, Scientific American, "Did Galaxies Grow from Quantum Static?," 17 June 2020 For a split second, the video shows Garcia sprint toward the door and away from the explosive that was throwing off red sparks. Thalia Beaty, ProPublica, "Somebody’s Gotta Help Me”," 16 June 2020 The soldier who is a split second quicker on the draw may walk away from a firefight unscathed; the ship that sinks an enemy vessel first may spare itself a volley of missiles. Paul Scharre, Wired, "Are AI-Powered Killer Robots Inevitable?," 19 May 2020 Candidates like to talk about that 3 a.m. phone call, that split second when their resolve would be tested. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, "Out of Touch," 12 Mar. 2020 Edelman bobbled the ball for a split second but clearly reached out and got both hands under the ball before landing on the turf. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, "SportsDay staffers pick the best plays they’ve ever witnessed: Game-winners, miraculous catches and rare anomalies," 4 May 2020 Blue flame swirled in the dark and the spigots were gently opened, bleeding fire droplets into the glasses for a showy split second. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Absinthe, a fabled spirit with its own fairy story," 28 Oct. 2019 But not knowing where things are or having the correct tools does not faze her for a split second. Washington Post, "I can’t even blame Paris, because she didn’t really tell me how to make it. But she did teach me something about attitude. “How is it?” asks a colleague I’ve recruited to help me assess the final product. My reply: “It’s AMAZING.”," 18 Jan. 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.

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First Known Use of split-second


1944, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1912, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for split-second

Time Traveler

The first known use of split-second was in 1912

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Statistics for split-second

Cite this Entry

“Split-second.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/split-second. Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with split-second

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