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moment [noun] (OCCASION)

a particular time or occasion

US /ˈmoʊ.mənt/ 
UK /ˈməʊ.mənt/ 

When would be the best moment to tell the family?

Oxford Essential Dictionary


a very short time same meaning minute:
He thought for a moment before he answered.
Can you wait a moment?

at the moment now:
She's on holiday at the moment, but she'll be back next week.

in a moment very soon:
He'll be here in a moment.

the moment as soon as:
Tell Jim to phone me the moment he arrives.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


moment S1 W1 /ˈməʊmənt $ ˈmoʊ-/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[Word Family: noun: ↑moment, ↑momentum; adjective: ↑momentary, ↑momentous; adverb: ↑momentarily]
[Date: 1300-1400; Language: French; Origin: Latin momentum; ⇨ ↑momentum]
1. POINT IN TIME a particular point in time:
It was one of the most exciting moments in his life.
at this/that moment (=used for emphasis)
Just at that moment there was a knock on the door.
She may be in trouble at this very moment and trying to call you.
I remember the moment when I first saw him after the operation.
Quinn always seems to be in the right place at the crucial moment.
I just this moment (=only a very short time ago) arrived and already Dan wants to know when I’m leaving.
At this moment in time it would be inappropriate to comment on the situation.
From that moment on (=after that time) we were the best of friends.
► Do not say 'in that moment' when you mean ‘at that particular time’. Say at that moment: At that moment, everything stopped.
2. SHORT TIME a very short period of time:
He was here a moment ago.
Can you spare a few moments to answer some questions?
in a moment (=very soon)
I’ll come back to that point in a moment.
for a moment
It was quiet for a moment, then Rae spoke.
after a moment
‘I don’t understand,’ said Louise after a moment.
A moment later we heard a splash.
wait/just a moment (=used when you want someone to wait a short time while you do or say something)
Just a moment; let me put these away first.
We have to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice (=very quickly).
3. at the moment British English especially spoken, American English formal now:
Julia’s on holiday in Spain at the moment.
At the moment, the situation in Haiti is very tense.
4. for the moment used to say that something is happening or is true now but will probably change in the future:
Well, for the moment we’re just friends.
For the moment the rain had stopped.
5. the moment (that) somebody does something as soon as someone does something:
He said he’d phone you the moment he got home.
6. the last moment if you do something at the last moment or if something happens at the last moment, it happens at the last possible time
at the last moment
The operation was cancelled at the last moment.
She always leaves everything to the last moment.
7. (at) any moment extremely soon:
The plumber should be here any moment now.
The roof could collapse at any moment.
8. OPPORTUNITY [usually singular] a particular time when you have a chance to do something:
His wife Denise was there to share his big moment (=opportunity to do something great).
choose/pick your moment (=try to choose the best time to do something)
He picked his moment carefully to tell them the news.
This was her moment and she knew she had to take it.
9. moment of madness/weakness/panic etc a short period of time when you do not feel or behave as normal and often do or say something which you later wish you had not done or said
in a moment of something
In a moment of madness I agreed to go with him.
He experienced a brief moment of panic.
10. one moment ... the next/from one moment to the next used to say that a situation changes very suddenly, often in a way which you do not expect or cannot explain:
One moment she’s kissing me, the next she doesn’t want to see me again.
You never know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next.
11. not believe/think/do something for a/one moment especially spoken used to say that you did not believe, expect etc something at all:
He didn’t fool me for a moment.
She had never for one moment imagined that it could happen to her.
12. of the moment the person, idea, word etc of the moment is the one that is most important or popular at the present time:
They interview personalities on a topic of the moment.
the mood of the moment
13. have its/your moments to have periods of being good or interesting:
a movie that had its moments
14. not a moment too soon almost too late:
The ambulance finally arrived, and not a moment too soon.
15. the moment of truth the time when you will find out if something will work properly, be successful etc
16. of great moment old-fashioned important
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
■ adjectives
right/perfect I’m just waiting for the right moment to tell her. | The moment is not quite right just yet.
an opportune moment (=a good time to do something) I was waiting for an opportune moment to leave.
a historic moment (=a moment that is important in history) The fall of the Berlin wall was a historic moment.
a memorable moment There have been many memorable moments in this year’s Olymics.
the exact/precise moment Her stomach chose that precise moment to make a loud noise.
the very moment (=used for emphasizing that something happened at a particular time) I could tell something was wrong from the very moment I walked in through the front door.
the present moment (=now) At the present moment, there are 500 students at the school.
an important moment This was probably the most important moment in his life.
a critical/crucial moment (=a very important moment) This was a critical moment in the country’s history.
a defining moment (=something that shows the real character or purpose of something) The win was a defining moment in the boxer’s career.
sb’s finest moment (=when someone was most successful or admired) The performance was one of the band’s finest moments.
sb’s proudest moment (=when someone did the thing they are most proud of) My proudest moment was when my daughter was born.
the worst moment Standing on the edge waiting to do your bungee jump is the worst moment.
■ verbs
capture the moment (=to take a picture, describe something etc that will remind you of a particular time) They captured the moment on film.
enjoy the moment She found herself laughing with him, enjoying the moment.
savour the moment (=enjoy the moment) He seemed to savour every moment of their conversation.
relive the moment (=experience something again by thinking about it, talking about it etc) In court she had to relive the moment her son was murdered.
choose a moment to do something (=do something at a particular time) She always seemed to choose the worst moment to interrupt his thoughts.
dread a moment (=feel anxious or worried about something that will happen) She was dreading the moment when she would have to fire him.
■ phrases
just this/that moment (=only a very short time ago) I had just that moment arrived.
at this moment in time (=now) At this moment in time we cannot proceed with the proposal.
from that moment on (=after that time) From that moment on I saw very little of Dean.
moment to moment/moment by moment (=used for emphasizing that something changes quickly) The colours of the sunset changed moment to moment.
every waking moment (=all the time you are awake) He spent every waking moment in the lab.
at a given moment (=at any particular time) There was no variety at all - you knew exactly what you would be doing at any given moment of the week.
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
■ verbs
take a moment (=use a short time) Coleman took a moment to reply.
have a moment (=have a short time to use) Can you come and see me when you have a moment?
wait a moment Wait a moment while I get my coat.
pause a moment (=stop speaking or doing something for a short time) Lisa paused a moment, then said 'yes'.
hesitate a moment (=not speak or do something for a short time because you are unsure of what to say or do) Paul hesitated a moment then followed her.
spare a moment (=used when asking someone if they have a short time available to spend with you) Can you spare a moment to go through some figures with me?
■ phrases
just a moment (=used when telling someone to wait) Just a moment, I’ll go and get her.
at a moment’s notice (=very quickly) Fire fighters need to be able to get ready at a moment’s notice.
a moment ago I saw him outside just a moment ago.
there’s never a dull moment (=something is always exciting or full of activity) There’s never a dull moment with Chris around!
■ adjectives
a brief moment For a brief moment, he looked directly at her.
a fleeting moment (=a very short time) For a fleeting moment she wanted to run away.
a long moment He was silent for a long moment before replying.
a spare moment (=short period of time when you are not doing other things) She spent every spare moment in the library.
• • •
■ a time when something happens
time a time when something happens or when you should do something: The last time I saw her she was in high school. | It’s time for you to go to bed. | The best time to visit Scotland is in late May.
occasion a time when something happens. Occasion is more formal than time: They have been seen together on several occasions. | The last occasion the two teams met, the Giants won easily.
moment a particular point in time when something happens: At that moment (=at exactly that time), the door bell rang. | The next moment she was gone.
point a particular time during a longer period of time: At one point during the play she completely forgot her lines. | the lowest point of the holiday

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


mo·ment [moment moments]   [ˈməʊmənt]    [ˈmoʊmənt]  noun
1. a very short period of time
Could you wait a moment, please?
One moment, please (= Please wait a short time).
He thought for a moment before replying.
I'll be back in a moment.
We arrived not a moment too soon (= almost too late).
Moments later (= a very short time later), I heard a terrible crash.

see also  senior moment

2. singular an exact point in time
We're busy at the moment (= now).
I agreed in a moment of weakness.
At that very moment, the phone rang.

From that moment on, she never felt really well again.

3. countable a particular occasion; a time for doing sth
I'm waiting for the right moment to tell him the bad news.
That was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Have I caught you at a bad moment?
more at the evil hour/day/moment at  evil, just a minute/moment/second at  just  adv., the last minute/moment at  last  det., at a moment's notice at  notice  n., the psychological moment at  psychological, on the spur of the moment at  spur  n., wait a minute/moment/second at  wait  v.
Idioms: any moment  at this moment in time  for the moment  have its moments  moment of truth  moment …  not for a moment  of moment  of the moment  
Word Origin:
late Middle English: from Latin momentum, from movimentum, from movere ‘to move’.  
moment noun
1. C
He thought for a moment before replying.
minutesecondinstantsplit second|especially BrE, especially spoken bit|informal, spoken sec
in/for a/an moment/minute/instant/second/split second/bit/sec
at/from that moment/minute/second/instant
hang on/hold on/wait a moment/minute/second/sec
Moment, minute or second? In many cases you can use any of these words
Wait/Hang on/Just a moment/minute/second.
Minute is the most frequent in spoken English; it is more usual to use moment in written English, especially when telling a story.
2. sing.
At that very moment, the phone rang.
a moment/the point/sb's hour/a time of sth
at the moment/that instant/that point/the time
for the moment/time/occasion
the very/precise moment/instant/hour/time
3. C (especially spoken)
I'm waiting for the right moment to tell him the bad news.
chanceopportunityoccasion|especially business window
a suitable moment/opportunity/occasion
have a/an moment/chance/opportunity/occasion
wait for the moment/a chance/an opportunity/an occasion 
Example Bank:
A moment later, the ceiling fell in.
After a moment we followed him.
Afterwards she relived every moment in her head.
At that very moment the phone rang.
At the present moment, we do not have a choice.
Could you look through this report when you have a spare moment?
Could you wait a few moments?
For one heart-stopping moment, we thought she was going to fall.
He might wake up at any moment.
He opened his mouth to say he loved her, but the moment passed.
He was here just a moment ago.
He's in a bad mood today— you need to choose your moment carefully.
Her finest moment came when she won Wimbledon.
Her finest moment came when she won the Nobel Prize.
I can only spare you a moment, I'm afraid— I'm terribly busy.
I couldn't stand it a moment longer.
I didn't want to screw up my big moment.
I don't expect to spend every waking moment at work.
I don't think this is the right moment to ask for a bonus.
I dread the moment when she finds out.
I felt at home here from the very moment I arrived.
I loved her from the first moment I met her.
I managed to capture the moment on film.
I spent a few moments thinking what I was going to say.
I stood there for a moment or two.
I treasure the moments we spent together.
I'll be back in a moment.
In the heat of the moment she forgot what she wanted to say.
It was a bad time to have a senior moment.
It was the proudest moment of my entire life.
She let the news slip by mistake, in an unguarded moment.
She paused a moment to reflect.
That was a bad moment in my life.
The feeling only lasted a moment.
The moment had finally come to make a move.
There was a moment of silence.
There's never a dull moment in this job.
They were making the most of those last precious moments together.
This is one of the book's funniest moments.
This won't take a moment.
Victory was sweet, and he wanted to savour every moment.
We have reached a critical moment in the negotiations.
Why do you leave it until the last possible moment before getting ready to leave?
You need to be aware of what you are doing at any given moment.
a great moment in the country's history
at the moment of death
in her rare moments of leisure
Could you wait a moment, please?
From that moment on, she never felt really well again.
I haven't finished. I'm still waiting for a quiet moment.
I'm waiting for the right moment to tell him the bad news.
Moments later, I heard a terrible crash.
One moment, please.
• We arrived not a moment too soon.

• We're busy at the moment.

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition

moment / ˈməʊ.mənt /   / ˈmoʊ- / noun (OCCASION)

B1 [ C ] a particular time or occasion:

When would be the best moment to tell the family?

Don't leave it to/till the last moment (= the latest time possible) .

If you want a private conversation with her you'll have to choose your moment (= find a suitable time) .

The moment (that) (= as soon as) I get the money I'll send the ticket.

at the moment A2 now:

I'm afraid she's not here at the moment.

for the moment B2 If you do something for the moment, you are doing it now, but might do something different in the future:

Let's carry on with what we agreed for the moment.

at this moment in time formal now:

I can give no information at this precise moment in time.

moment / ˈməʊ.mənt /   / ˈmoʊ- / noun [ C ] (SHORT TIME)

A2 a very short period of time:

Can you wait a moment?

I'll be ready in just a moment.

A car drew up outside and a few moments later the doorbell rang.

I'm expecting her to come at any moment (= very soon) .

Have you got a moment (= are you busy or have you got time to speak to me) ?

moment / ˈməʊ.mənt /   / ˈmoʊ- / noun (IMPORTANCE)

of (great) moment formal very important:

a decision of great moment

→  See also momentous

Collins Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary



 1) N-COUNT You can refer to a very short period of time, for example a few seconds, as a moment or moments.
  In a moment he was gone...
  She stared at him a moment, then turned away...
  Stop for one moment and think about it!...
  In moments, I was asleep once more.
  minute, second
 2) N-COUNT: with supp A particular moment is the point in time at which something happens.
  At this moment a car stopped at the house...
  Many people still remember the moment when they heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated.
  ...a decision that may have been made in a moment of panic.
 3) PHRASE (emphasis) If you say that something will or may happen at any moment or any moment now, you are emphasizing that it is likely to happen very soon.
  They ran the risk of being shot at any moment...
  He'll be here to see you any moment now.
  at any minute
 4) PHRASE You use expressions such as at the moment, at this moment, and at the present moment to indicate that a particular situation exists at the time when you are speaking.
  At the moment, no one is talking to me...
  This is being planned at the present moment...
  He's touring South America at this moment in time.
  now, currently
 5) PHRASE: with brd-neg, PHR with v (emphasis) If you say that you do not believe for a moment or for one moment that something is true, you are emphasizing that you do not believe that it could possibly be true.
  I don't for a moment think there'll be a divorce.
  for a minute
 6) PHRASE: PHR with cl You use for the moment to indicate that something is true now, even if it will not be true in the future.
  For the moment, however, the government is happy to live with it.
  for now
 7) PHRASE: V inflects If you say that someone or something has their moments, you are indicating that there are times when they are successful or interesting, but that this does not happen very often.
  The film has its moments...
  He's not the thoroughly outgoing character you'd predict, although he has his moments.
 8) PHRASE: prep PHR If someone does something at the last moment, they do it at the latest time possible.
  They changed their minds at the last moment and refused to go.
  the last minute
 9) PHRASE (emphasis) You use the expression the next moment, or expressions such as `one moment he was there , the next he was gone', to emphasize that something happens suddenly, especially when it is very different from what was happening before.
  The next moment there was an almighty crash...
  He is unpredictable, weeping one moment, laughing the next.
  the next minute
 10) PHRASE: n PHR You use of the moment to describe someone or something that is or was especially popular at a particular time, especially when you want to suggest that their popularity is unlikely to last long or did not last long.
  He's the man of the moment, isn't he?...
  He calls it a `contraption', using his favourite word of the moment.
 11) PHRASE: PHR that (emphasis) If you say that something happens the moment something else happens, you are emphasizing that it happens immediately after the other thing.
  The moment I closed my eyes, I fell asleep.
  the minute, as soon as
 12) spur of the momentsee spur

Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary


mo·ment /ˈmoʊmənt/ noun, pl -ments
1 [count] : a very short period of time
• The sunshine that was here a moment [=minute, second] ago is gone.
• The sun was shining. Moments later, it began to rain.
• It was a moment before she realized what had happened.
• She stopped for a moment and peeked into the window.
• It should only take a moment to fix the problem.
• Do you have a (spare) moment? [=do you have some free time so we can talk to each other briefly?]
• I'm very busy and I don't have a moment to spare.
• The doctor arrived not a moment too soon. [=the doctor arrived just in time to help]
• I'll explain that in a moment. [=shortly, soon]
• The crowd observed a moment of silence [=a short period of silent thought or prayer] for those who died in the tragedy.
2 [count] : a particular time : a precise point in time
• One moment it was sunny; the next it was pouring rain.
• We enjoyed every moment of the play. [=we enjoyed all of the play]
• The moment for us to act has arrived.
• The moment is ripe for action. [=this is the right time for action]
• War seemed unavoidable at that moment in history.
• She knew exactly the right moment to ask for a raise.
• We had an exciting vacation. There was never a dull moment.
3 a [noncount] : the present time
At the moment [=right now, at the current time] she is working on a novel.
• We aren't prepared at this moment [=at this time, now] to say what our plans are.
As of this moment [=as of now, right now], there's nothing you can do.
✦Something that is true for the moment is true now but might not be true for long.
For the moment, it is the world's largest city. [=it is the world's largest city now, but that may not be true much longer]
• He's staying out of trouble for the moment.
For the moment, at least, I had the room to myself.
✦Someone or something that is of the moment is very popular at a particular time.
• the vacation destination of the moment [=the vacation destination that is now most popular]
• the man/woman of the moment [=the man/woman who is now very popular and admired]
b [count] : a time of importance or success
• She took the time to relish her moment of triumph.
• He's not the best player on the team, but he has his moments. [=he has times when he is extremely good, successful, etc.]
• It was a defining moment for him.
• It was a crowning moment in his presidency.
any moment
✦If something could happen (at) any moment (now), it could happen very soon.
• He could lose his temper at any moment.
• The war could begin at any moment.
• She should be arriving at any moment now.
at/on a moment's notice
- see 1notice
from moment to moment or from one moment to the next or moment by moment : very quickly as time passes
• The weather kept changing from one moment to the next. = The weather kept changing from moment to moment. [=from minute to minute]
hold/hang on a moment or wait/just a moment informal
- used to tell someone to wait or to stop for a brief time
• “Aren't you finished yet?” “Hold on a moment. I'm almost done.”
Hang on a moment—I don't understand.
moment of truth : the time when you have to do or decide something
• The moment of truth came early, when we had to decide whether to stay or go.
• It was her moment of truth, when she needed to show that she had the talent to succeed.
not for a/one moment : at no time : not at all
• I did not believe her for one moment. [=I never believed her]
of moment formal : having importance
• an event of great moment [=a very important event]
• There is no news of any moment to report.
on the spur of the moment
- see 1spur
the last moment : the latest possible time : the last minute
• Our flight was canceled at the last moment.
• She finished her paper at the last moment.
• Many people wait until the last (possible) moment before shopping for Christmas presents.
the moment : as soon as
The moment the cameras are turned off, he is able to relax.
• Everything stops the moment she walks in the room.
within moments : very quickly : within a very short amount of time
Within moments, dozens of people had gathered.