English edit

Etymology edit

momentary +‎ -ly.

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈməʊməntɛɹɪlɪi/, /ˈməʊmɛntɛɹɪlɪi/
    • (file)

Adverb edit

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 []
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 68:
      The numbers thin out the further we get from London, so I don't feel guilty when I remove my mask momentarily to scoff some of the snacks I'd bought at Marylebone.
  2. (US, proscribed, duration) In a moment or very soon; any minute now, any time now.
    This plane will be landing at Idlewild Airport momentarily.
    • 1880, Lew Wallace, 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.
  3. Progressively; moment by moment.

Usage notes edit

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”.

Synonyms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  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