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'momentarily' (US usage)

4 replies

NetworkGuy · 23/05/2012 04:16

Have laughed to myself over the years at the use of "momentarily" by customer-facing staff in different situations.

While we might say "in a moment" meaning in a short time, and momentarily has a similar meaning (for me it suggests for a moment), I've now heard it in two situations...

domain registration firm call centre message
"Your call is important to us, and please hold the line and we'll deal with it momentarily"

(definitely the opposite when trying to get their billing department to refund an overcharge!)

airline stewardess
"Please return to your seats and fasten seat belts as we will be landing momentarily"

(gave me visions of stopping on the tarmac and throwing people and their luggage off the plane as they can only stop momentarily!!)

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Thumbwitch · 23/05/2012 04:24

heh heh - it used to confuse me until I realised that Americans use it to mean "shortly" as opposed to "briefly"!

The joys of language...

NetworkGuy · 23/05/2012 04:44

Other things cause far more confusion or even offence, such as fag, rubber and jugs !

Have to say that pavement (+ sidewalk vs road + pavement) and trunk (car boot) might be dangerous if misunderstood.

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Thumbwitch · 23/05/2012 05:01

I think fannypack is possibly the funniest non-crossover term ever though, NWG!

Do they really call the road "Pavement" in the US? Confused

NetworkGuy · 23/05/2012 07:19

I hesitated at including fannypack - didn't go off to search [because of alternative websites - I don't bother with "safe search" !] and had a nap !

As for pavement... from *> MIT News (today)

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