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


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

Franken recalls the incident that ended his career as lasting a split second. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "The Case of Al Franken," 22 July 2019 Then, in a split second, the music and their expressions change to quizzical. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD professor Anthony Davis’ opera ‘The Central Park Five’ goes where Netflix doesn’t dare," 17 June 2019 But has all of the fights and all of those years taken away just a split second? Los Angeles Times, "Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Keith Thurman could be the last time we see him in the ring," 19 July 2019 Humans can make a decision in that split second that is reflective of their personal code of ethics. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "Could a Morality Setting Be the Future of Autonomous Vehicles?," 17 July 2019 There was a split second of silence, and then, sheer bedlam. Eric He, The Mercury News, "‘It belonged to everybody’ – 20 years later, Brandi Chastain reflects on World Cup title," 5 July 2019 From his view just off first base, for a split second, Hill-Murray sophomore shortstop Matthew Fleischhacker thought the ball might indeed find grass. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Class 3A state baseball: Austin upsets second-seeded Hill-Murray 3-1 in quarters," 13 June 2019 In Freedom of Speech, the central figure is not in the middle of speaking but in that split second of thinking and speaking. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "A Closer Look at Rockwell’s Four Freedoms," 22 June 2019 Tennessee guard Jordan Bone's night went from disappointing to life-changing in a split second. Jenna West, SI.com, "Jordan Bone's NBA Draft Party Erupted After He Was Selected in Second Round," 21 June 2019

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

The first known use of split-second was in 1912

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More Definitions for split-second



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with split-second

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for split-second

Comments on split-second

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of or relating to the heavens

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