In A Moment … ‘In The Twinkling of An Eye’

Mountains and water
The idea conveyed is that something happens so fast as to be almost imperceptible

In the blink of an eye. That is how quickly this idiom of biblical origin (from 1 Cor. 15: 51–52) has been changed, as it describes a mysterious and wonderful moment, at the trumpet sound, when everything will change. As much as I love the original in the twinkling of an eye, it’s an expression I would use more often with younger children (and, from my experience, they love it too).

In the blink of an eye is heard in everyday conversation. It is also expressed synonymously with idioms such as in a heartbeat or in a fraction of a second. It’s as quick as a wink or it happens in a flash.

Although no one really knows how fast any of these things are, the idea conveyed is that they refer to something that happens at the drop of a hat, at near-lightning speed or, in fact, so fast as to be almost imperceptible. It is reported that the blink of an eye lasts between “0.1 and 0.4 seconds” (

But what we usually are referring to when we say these things almost never happens that quickly. We use these expressions as a promise or to provide reassurance or comfort, or to affirm our intention to do something immediately. And at times we say them simply because they bring a smile to someone’s face.

Contrarily, using in the blink of an eye and its cohorts with a note of sarcasm (oh be careful where you say this!) may elicit a negative response—though most often laughter, especially when you promise something that could not possibly be done that quickly. “I’ll run downtown and be back in the blink of an eye.” Right. Smiles all around.

As outdated as it may sound, or perhaps more in tune with prose or poetic thought, I will continue to embrace in the twinkling of an eye. It holds a particular meaning for me that is both simple and profound. And, of course, it is something I will say to our granddaughters, as a promise kept that is both present and timeless. This is a timeless idiom.

I am dedicating this column and these words to our granddaughters, Taya and Eden: “In a moment … in the twinkling of an eye.”

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top