momentary +‎ -ly.



momentarily (not comparable)

  1. (manner) In a momentary manner; for a moment or instant.
    • 2010 December 23, Phillip Roth, “Prologue”, in The Great American Novel[1], →ISBN, page 21:
      I imagined momentarily that it was four score and seven years ago, that I had just been brought forth from my mother []
  2. (US, proscribed, duration) In a moment or very soon; any minute now, any time now.
    • 1880, Wallace, Lew, chapter 3, in Ben-Hur, a Tale of the Christ:
      He told me, further, that the second coming was at hand--was looked for momentarily in Jerusalem.
    This plane will be landing at Idlewild Airport momentarily.
  3. Progressively; moment by moment.

Usage notesEdit

Many speakers object to the use of momentarily in the sense of “in a moment” rather than “for a moment”, since this is inconsistent with the meaning of momentary;[1][2] nonetheless, this use is quite common in North America, and is particularly associated with airlines, such as “we will be landing momentarily”.[3][1][2] In place of momentarily, many speakers prefer the terms presently, soon[1][2] or the phrase “in a moment”,[2] for this sense of “in a moment”.




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Just a Moment”, by William Safire, New York Times, May 11, 1997
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 I Stand Corrected: More on Language, by William Safire pp. 137–138
  3. ^ On language, by William Safire, 1980, p. 9