What is 1/60 of a second called?

There are 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. I know there are 1000 milliseconds in a second, but what is 1/60 of a second called? Does it even have a name? To complete the first sentence – 60 ___ in a second. What is that blank called?


If there is no answer, how about we work with the Latin again. Sexaginta means 60 so how about we call it something like a Gintasecond?

If there is no answer, how about we work with the Latin again. Sexaginta means 60 so how about we call it something like a Gintasecond?

6 Answers

  • A H
    1 month ago

    I don’t think there’s a special name for the unit of time that’s 1/60th of a second.

    Unlike mass and distance, time’s measured in a funny way. That’s primarily because we can divide time into years (the amount of time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun) or days (the amount of time it takes for the earth to spin about its axis). Since the ratio of those two quantities is approximately 1 to 365.25, you’re going to get all sorts of crazy things like leap years happening.

    Compound that with the fact that old calendars LOVED the number 360 because it’s divisible by a LOT of numbers, and you get all those weird conversions like 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute.

    Fortunately, the insanity stops there…seconds are generally subdivided into either milliseconds (a thousandth of a second) or microseconds (a millionth of a second). I suppose you could have centiseconds (0.01 seconds) and kiloseconds (1000 seconds), but those units just aren’t used enough to be popular.

  • Will
    7 days ago

    It is called a “tierce”. If you look it up on Wikipedia you will find it as the fifth or sixth definition. However, for the time period after Middle English, the most common use of “tierce” in vernacular speech would be 1/60th of a second. When referring to volume or mass this would be clear from context.

    For an interesting discussion of why we should use the tierce, Wikipedia has a good article on the Sexagesimal based numbering system used by every ancient culture that was mildly advanced. It explains why we have minute and second “accent” marks (which are to explain the value of the exponent of 60). If you want to skip it, the reason is the amount of numbers that may be cleanly divided into 60. Makes fractions simple. Using a 360 based numbering system would be even more advantageous to a non-computerized world but 360 symbols is too much, though there are ways around this also. Read about Ptolemy’s accuracy using Euclids postulate about polygons, it’s hard w/pencil and paper!

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    16.7 milliseconds (1/60 second)– a third. Also called a jiffy

  • tommyg
    1 month ago

    i just call it 1/60 of a second.

  • iceman
    1 month ago

    16.67 milliseconds

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago


  1. In 1267, the medieval scientist Roger Bacon stated the times of full moons as a number of hours, minutes, seconds, thirds, and fourths (horae, minuta, secunda, tertia, and quarta) after noon on specified calendar dates.

    Therefore Will has it right (see above), its a “tierce” (French) or “tertia” (Latin).
    So a hand on a watch that rotates 360 degrees in 1 second (like a analogue stopwatch) is a 3rds Hand (English). But nobody seems to use this term…….

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