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split second

a fraction of a second.
an infinitesimal amount of time; instant; twinkling.
Origin of split second
Related forms
split-second, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for split-second
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Slammed over against the bar, Lamb had a split-second glimpse of it.

  • There was a split-second pause and then the great ship roared into life.

    Stand by for Mars! Carey Rockwell
  • That was the hour that occupied his thoughts—a time when he would be called upon for split-second decisions coming in waves.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • "Reactant feeding at D-9 rate," said Barret after a split-second pause.

    Sabotage in Space Carey Rockwell
  • There was a split-second when I thought it was the end of me.

    Wandl the Invader Raymond King Cummings
  • That split-second advantage might cancel out Rend's superior speed and accuracy.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
British Dictionary definitions for split-second

split second

an extremely small period of time; instant
adjective (prenominal)
made or arrived at in an infinitely short time: a split-second decision
depending upon minute precision: split-second timing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with split-second

split second

An instant, a fraction of a second, as in Our best swimmer came in a split second before theirs. This expression alludes to a stop watch that has two second hands, one above the other, for timing more than one athlete or intervals of a race by a single athlete. Each hand can be stopped independently of the other, so a second can be “split” when one second hand stops a fraction of a second after the other. [ c. 1880 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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