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From Latin mōmentum. Doublet of moment and movement


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌmə(ʊ)ˈmɛntəm/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌmoʊˈmɛntəm/
  • (file)


momentum (countable and uncountable, plural momentums or momenta)

  1. (physics) Of a body in motion: the tendency of a body to maintain its inertial motion; the product of its mass and velocity, or the vector sum of the products of its masses and velocities.
  2. The impetus, either of a body in motion, or of an idea or course of events; a moment.
    • 1843, Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Old Apple Dealer", in Mosses from an Old Manse
      The travellers swarm forth from the cars. All are full of the momentum which they have caught from their mode of conveyance.
    • 1882, Thomas Hardy, chapter II, in Two on a Tower. A Romance. [...] In Three Volumes, volume II, London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, [], OCLC 654408264, page 31:
      Their intention to become husband and wife, at first halting and timorous, had accumulated momentum with the lapse of hours, till it now bore down every obstacle in its course.
    • 2013 September 14, Jane Shilling, “The Golden Thread: the Story of Writing, by Ewan Clayton, review [print edition: Illuminating language]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1], page R29:
      Though his account of written communication over the past 5,000 years necessarily has a powerful forward momentum, his diversions down the fascinating byways of the subject are irresistible ...

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]



From *movimentum (compare later Medieval Latin movimentum), from Proto-Italic *mowementom. Equivalent to moveō (move, set in motion; excite) + -mentum (suffix used to forming nouns from verbs).



mōmentum n (genitive mōmentī); second declension

  1. movement, motion, impulse; course
  2. change, revolution, movement, disturbance
  3. particle, part, point
  4. (of time) brief space, moment (in time), short time
  5. cause, circumstance
  6. weight, influence, importance
    momentum facere/habereto have importance, to exercise influence
    maxime momenti - most important
  7. (New Latin, physics) momentum


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative mōmentum mōmenta
Genitive mōmentī mōmentōrum
Dative mōmentō mōmentīs
Accusative mōmentum mōmenta
Ablative mōmentō mōmentīs
Vocative mōmentum mōmenta

Derived terms[edit]



  • momentum”, in Charlton T[homas] Lewis; Charles [Lancaster] Short (1879) [] A New Latin Dictionary [], New York, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Ill.: American Book Company; Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • momentum”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • momentum in Enrico Olivetti, editor (2003-2022) Dizionario Latino, Olivetti Media Communication
  • momentum in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • momentum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[2], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • at the important moment: momento temporis
    • important results are often produced by trivial causes: ex parvis saepe magnarum rerum momenta pendent
    • to be of great (no) importance: magni (nullius) momenti esse
    • to determine the issue of; to turn the scale: momentum afferre ad aliquid