- for a moment or short time
- in an instant
- from moment to moment; at any moment
- For a moment or an instant.
- In a moment; very soon.
- Usage Problem At the moment; for the time being.
Usage Note: Momentarily is widely used in speech to mean “in a moment, shortly,” as in The manager is on another line, but she'll be with you momentarily. Many critics dislike this use, insisting that the adverb should only be used to mean “for a moment,” as in He hesitated momentarily before entering the room. But the Usage Panel's resistance to the nontraditional use has waned over time. For the first example above, the Usage Panel acceptance rate was 59 percent in 1988, 68 percent in 1999, and 83 percent in 2013. Also in 2013, 63 percent of the Panel approved of the vaguer use of momentarily in the sense of “at the moment” where the length of time is open-ended, as in The file server is momentarily out of order. This figure is up slightly from the 58 percent acceptance rate for the same sentence in 1999.
- Many speakers object to the use of momentarily in the sense of “in a moment" rather than “for a moment", since this is inconsistent with the meaning of momentary; nonetheless, this use is quite common in North America, and is particularly associated with airlines, such as “we will be landing momentarily". In place of momentarily, many speakers prefer the terms presently, soon or the phrase “in a moment", for this sense of “in a moment".
From momentary + -ly.