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momentarily curious

English translation: for just a moment/instant

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14:11 Sep 20, 2007
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
English term or phrase: momentarily curious
What does "momentarily" mean in the passage below - "for a short time" or perhaps "immediately, at once"?

...for one moment he thought he would scream. He put one fist to his mouth, as if to cram it back... and then merely coughed into his fist. Neither Terry nor Dennis noticed, but Peter looked around, momentarily curious.
English translation:for just a moment/instant

Note added at 20 mins (2007-09-20 14:32:26 GMT)

By the way, I don't think I've ever seen "momentarily" used in the sense of "immediately" or "at once."
Selected response from:

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 19:17
Grading comment
Thank you!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Summary of answers provided
5 +10for just a moment/instant
Mark Berelekhis



15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +10
for just a moment/instant


Note added at 20 mins (2007-09-20 14:32:26 GMT)

By the way, I don't think I've ever seen "momentarily" used in the sense of "immediately" or "at once."

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 19:17
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 206
Grading comment
Thank you!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jccantrell: How I would explain it, too.
10 mins
  -> Thank you, jccantrell.

agree  Ken Cox: fully agree (well, you might see 'momentarily' used in the sense of 'at once' in a poor translation or non-native English)
21 mins
  -> Thank you, Ken. I guess I haven't read any of those, yet :)

agree  Jim Tucker: yes I think this must be right (though just btw: "momentarily" = "immediately" is quite common - you will hear "I'll be with you momentarily" etc. - normal usage) http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/momentarily
46 mins
  -> Thank you, Jim. With regard to "I'll be with you momentarily" -- I always saw it more as "I'll be with you in just a moment," but you're right in that it is closer in meaning to "immediate."

agree  JaneTranslates: And Jim's right; people do use "momentarily" in that way, but purists (like me) don't approve! However, in this case, "for just a moment" is clearly the correct interpretation.
49 mins
  -> Thank you, Jane.

agree  missdutch: always great explanations and the right word!
1 hr
  -> Thanks so much, Sofia! :)

agree  NancyLynn
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, NancyLynn.

agree  Cristina Santos
1 day 3 hrs
  -> Thank you, Cristina.

agree  Rusinterp
1 day 9 hrs

agree  Patricia Townshend
2 days 17 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
4 days
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