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split second

a fraction of a second.
an infinitesimal amount of time; instant; twinkling.
Origin of split second
First recorded in 1880-85
Related forms
split-second, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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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