- moment (n.)
- mid-14c., "very brief portion of time, instant," in moment of time, from Old French moment (12c.) "moment, minute; importance, weight, value" or directly from Latin momentum "movement, motion; moving power; alteration, change;" also "short time, instant" (also source of Spanish, Italian momento), contraction of *movimentum, from movere "to move" (see move (v.)). Some (but not OED) explain the sense evolution of the Latin word by notion of a particle so small it would just "move" the pointer of a scale, which led to the transferred sense of "minute time division." Sense of "importance, 'weight' " is attested in English from 1520s.
Phrase never a dull moment first recorded 1889 in Jerome K. Jerome's "Three Men in a Boat." Phrase moment of truth first recorded 1932 in Hemingway's "Death in the Afternoon," from Spanish el momento de la verdad, the final sword-thrust in a bull-fight.