There are 90 Seconds in a Moment

January 24, 2013 at 2:00 am 8 comments

By Chad Upton

It will only take you a minute to read this post.

clock-tower

Although a minute is a precise amount of time, we often use it to mean a short amount of time. The same goes for “moment”; the difference being that most people don’t know that a moment is a precise measure of time.

Technically, a moment is 90 seconds.

The first reference comes from 1398, found in the Oxford English Dictionary. Cornish writer John of Trevisa wrote that there are 40 moments in an hour (hence 90 seconds each). Oxford has since replaced it with, “a very brief period of time.”

So go on, continue using it as a casual measure of time — now you know the real meaning.

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Photo: Peter Pearson (cc)

Sources: oxford dictionary, wikipedia (moment)

Entry filed under: Demystified, History and Origins. Tags: , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wendy  |  January 27, 2013 at 8:04 am

    As a parent this is used a lot! And so to realize, “One moment, please,” just may’ve been a whole 90 seconds, appeases much guilt! Thank you!

    Reply
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  • 3. Ryan Willger (@willger)  |  June 7, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Since the Oxford dictionary has updated their entry doesn’t that mean the real meaning is “a very brief period of time”?

    Reply
    • 4. that guy  |  June 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      the dictionary states the way a word is used, but not the way it should be used. literally has come to mean “not literally,” and february has two pronunciations now.

      Reply
      • 5. This Guy  |  November 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        The dictionary states the way a word is used. There is no way it “should be” used. There is a way it was once used.

  • 6. Mackenzie  |  June 7, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I find a moment to be measurably impossible when it comes to time…
    It is the here, and now.

    Reply
    • 7. Travis  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      That would be an instant

      Reply
  • 8. Travis  |  June 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Mackenzie, that would be an instant

    Reply

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