You don’t mean momentarily

January 24, 2016 ☼ Pedantry

The definition of momentarily is: “In a momentary manner; for a moment or instant.” It is an event or happenstance that occurs for a brief period of time.

A bird landed on the hedge momentarily.

You have frequently misused this to mean in a moment. Especially you who are commercial airline pilots. We are sure your sleep-addled minds (and bowels) are a perpetual shambles, but we are unmoved by special pleading. When you blurt:

If you would buckle your seatbelts, the plane will be landing momentarily,

This should frighten any pedants seated amidst the rabble. Landing momentarily? Are we leaving skid marks on the runway and dashing off on a joyride at 37,000 feet? But we are expected in St. Louis. What about the connection? Do we even have enough fuel for such a venture? We are scared, and we are certain this seatbelt will accomplish nothing.