New York Minute

Also: In a New York Minute

Meaning of Idiom ‘New York Minute’

A New York minute is a very short period of time; an instant. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.


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Usage

This idiom is often used in the phrase “in a New York minute” to mean that something happens in an instant, or very quickly.

Examples Of Use

“I’d quit this job in a New York minute if I got a nice offer.”

“You’re life can change in a New York minute. You have to appreciate what you have now.”

“I’d leave town in a New York minute if I could figure out where I wanted to go.”

New York minute idiom meaning

Origin

This idiom originated sometime in the 1950s or 1960s, and references the frenzied pace of life in New York City. It may be a reference, also, to the lack of patience displayed by the city’s inhabitants. Television host Johnny Carson humorously described “a New York minute as “interval between a Manhattan traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn.”

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.