In the Heat of the Moment (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "In the Heat of the Moment"?

The term "in the heat of the moment" means without thinking due to emotion induced by the situation.
In the Heat of the Moment (Origin)
The term "in the heat of the moment" functions like an adverb. In other words, it describes how an action is performed. It is similar to "irrationally" or "illogically," but it adds the idea of a temporary lowering of the usual levels of rationality due to a sudden wave of emotion.

Examples of Use:

  • I must apologize for my words. I said them in the heat of the moment.
  • He resigned in the heat of the moment when Sarah got the promotion he was expecting.
  • My client struck the plaintiff in the heat of the moment.
  • I ended the call in the heat of the moment.
The origin of this phrase is uncertain, but it is only a short mind-leap from a red, angered face to the notion of "heat." In fact, adjectives related to heat are commonly used to describe strong emotions:
  • hot blooded, hot headed, heated argument, melt my heart

Previous and Next Sayings

Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms

Ready for the Test?

More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms

Help Us Improve Grammar Monster

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?

Find Us Quicker!

  • When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.
Next lesson >

See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

Page URL