microcentury

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From micro- (1 millionth) +‎ century (100 years).

Noun[edit]

microcentury (plural microcenturies)

  1. (humorous) A unit of time equal to one millionth of a century or approximately one hour (52 minutes and 35.7 seconds).
    • 1997, Gian-Carlo Rota, “Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught”, in Indiscrete Thoughts, Springer Science & Business Media, published 2008, →ISBN, page 197:
      After fifty minutes (one microcentury as von Neumann used to say) everybody's attention will turn elsewhere even if we are trying to prove the Riemann hypothesis.
    • 2014, Christoph Schiller, Motion Mountain, volume IV, 27.06 edition, page 204:
      Translate: I was caught in such a traffic jam that I needed a microcentury for a picoparsec and that my car’s fuel consumption was two tenths of a square millimetre.

Usage notes[edit]

The microcentury is not a formal unit of measurement and is chiefly used for humorous hyperbole emphasizing the subjective feeling of an hour having taken an eternity, as during a boring lecture.

Further reading[edit]