Have you either ever told someone to ‘wait a moment’ or been on the receiving end of that particular statement yourself? You must admit that it does sound pretty strange telling someone that because how long is a moment?
Well, it turns out that it is something that has been measured and it goes back to the origin of the phrase and the way in which time was perceived centuries ago.
Back in the Middle Ages, the hour was split up into quarter-hours which were known as punctas, but they were also split up into other times known as 10 minuta and 40 momenta. What this means is that if you asked someone to wait a moment, then you were actually asking them to wait in the region of 90 seconds. So, the next time somebody tells you that, then remind them again in 90 seconds time.