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 As an 18-year-old freshman college football player Steven was living his dream when, in a split second, his life changed forever. oregonlive, "Resume reinvention: Storytelling and its connection to your brand," 13 Sep. 2019 But inside the visitors’ clubhouse at Petco Park late Friday evening, Martinez broke his own rule for a split second. Julian Mcwilliams, BostonGlobe.com, "J.D. Martinez doesn’t check his stats until the end of the season. On Friday, he made an exception," 24 Aug. 2019 Glennon and Peterman have largely split second-team reps during training camp, with Glennon taking more recently. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders open preseason with 14-3 win over Rams," 10 Aug. 2019 After almost every home game, Rich Hill’s wife, Caitlin, informs him of the foul balls that ricocheted behind home plate and into the family section at Dodger Stadium, unleashing a split second of panic. Jorge Castillo, latimes.com, "Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill: Extend protective netting for fan safety," 20 June 2019 The forward charged onto the ball, splitting Houston center backs Maynor Figueroa and Aljaz Struna and fired a shot past Joe Willis a split second before the goalkeeper could react. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo rally to draw against Rapids," 17 Aug. 2019 The ball caromed off Camden Yards’ brick backstop and right to Severino, who upon first turning back toward the diamond seemed for a split second to be surprised to see Tatis closing in. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. runs around expectations, limitations," 29 June 2019 Eternal Inflation As a junior researcher trying to explain the smoothness and flatness of the universe, Guth proposed in 1980 that a split second of exponential growth may have occurred at the start of the Big Bang. Quanta Magazine, "In a Multiverse, What Are the Odds?," 3 Nov. 2014 Some played games, running into view, then stopping for a split second, then running again. Azad Cudi, Harper's magazine, "Long Shot," 10 Jan. 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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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

Comments on split-second

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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