split second


noun

a fraction of a second.
an infinitesimal amount of time; instant; twinkling.

Origin of split second

First recorded in 1880–85

OTHER WORDS FROM split second

split-sec·ond, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for split second

British Dictionary definitions for split second

split second

noun

an extremely small period of time; instant

adjective split-second (prenominal)

made or arrived at in an infinitely short timea split-second decision
depending upon minute precisionsplit-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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.