I'm doing research on manufacturing systems and throughout my papers I need to refer to events as they approach a line t=0 which is, to within a differential slice of time, the exact present between future and past, the dissecting line. Such a word would have quantum physicists turn in their graves due to relativity I know, but I think what it means is clear enough for English.

I've read that origo may mean what I want. It seems strange that such a word doesn't exist, and I've searched for weeks. I know the word 'now' sort of means that but it's ambiguous and still represents a spacious present.

Some members suggest I add the following to the question:

My current definition of the word as it is in the paper:

A concept that will be used to discuss aspects of this paper needs to be defined. There exists a bisecting line between future and past, the immediate present line. This line has no width and, not considering the effects of relativity, is the instant in time in which all matter, process states, and information exists in the instant between “about to” and “was just”. The problem with the word “now”, apart from it being an adverb and not a noun, is that it still represents a spacious present and not the rigorous bisector between future and past. This bisector will be called the origo, from the pragmatic sense of the word. Origo means the point of departure of a perspective on a subject. Since anything in existence always has the time-based point of departure from the immediate present into the future or into the past, the origo is the universally experienced immediate present when the subject of time is considered

A sentence in the paper where I use it:

Looking at humans and other organic systems and how this problem of flexible activity execution is performed, it’s noticed that the execution plan only crystallises around the origo, where actions further ahead of the origo remain less defined and ambiguous.

Another Sample

An activity can be broken into a series of actions which themselves can be broken into smaller sub-actions which leads to a philosophical problem like Zeno’s paradox where this sub-dividing defines actions down to the movement of individual molecules. Since engineering is about practical problem solving and not about the conundrums of philosophy, some decision needs to be made about where the cut-off point should be. The addition of the spacious present (stage 2) Execution Phase as part of an activity life cycle solves this problem. While individual actions can sequentially cross the origo to the past, an entire activity is not completed until its final action is.

The value of the paper is not dependent on using the correct word, but it bugs me that either I'm missing something huge, or the word doesn't exist.

Thanks for the help so far guys.

  • The only word i can think of is the "Origin" in a Cartesian Coordinate System Nov 23, 2018 at 8:59
  • 1
    Origin sounds strange to me, but I'm not used to thinking of it in terms of mathematics. I'm not sure if you need something specific to that domain or not. What do you mean when you say that now is ambiguous and you mention a "spacious present"? As far as I know, now is very precise. The only problem with it is our inability to grasp it intuitively—because as soon as it is now, it no longer is. (But I'm not sure if that's what you're talking about or if our inability to fully intuit it invalidates the word. Any word or label would have the same issue.) Nov 23, 2018 at 9:15
  • @Chappo "t=0" is a common enough concept.
    – Kris
    Nov 23, 2018 at 10:19
  • @Kris t=0 represents a single point in a time series. The OP is asking for something far more nuanced: an expression for t=0 within a time function that is constantly resetting. Nov 23, 2018 at 11:05
  • @Chappo See my answer.
    – Kris
    Nov 23, 2018 at 11:37

4 Answers 4



1 Belonging to the present time; happening or being used or done now.

A typical sentence might look like:

The equation is based on the current instantaneous value of the parameter (as at the time of measurement).

  • Your word “current” is redundant given the words “instantaneous” and “as at the time of measurement”, and without these qualifications it is as imprecise as “present”. Perhaps instantaneous on its own might be the word the OP is looking for? Nov 23, 2018 at 11:40
  • @Chappo Current and instantaneous are independent and refer to different things. No confusion.
    – Kris
    Nov 23, 2018 at 11:42
  • @Chappo Current without instantaneous could belong to timeslice (t-n to t+n) where t=0; it doesn't necessarily mean at t=0.
    – Kris
    Nov 23, 2018 at 11:50
  • 1
    Yes, current would need to be added to instantaneous since I'm talking about a specific point in time, the 'now' point. I want to try avoid long two word terms since I need to draw many diagrams and keep long sentences simple. I spoke to a linguistics friend of mine and she said I could use origo as long as I just define what it means. Nov 26, 2018 at 8:24
  • As long as I just define what it means, you could use any made-up word or symbol, not an existing one with a defined meaning.
    – Kris
    Nov 26, 2018 at 8:38

In common everyday life there's been little need for an expression of the immediate (and constantly becoming past) instant of now, given that the moment it's expressed, that time-point has already ceased to be "now": it's become "just a moment ago" . The word that comes closest to expressing this concept is:


  1. done, occurring, or acting without any perceptible duration of time
    • death was instantaneous
  2. done without any delay being purposely introduced
    • took instantaneous corrective action
  3. occurring or present at a particular instant
    • instantaneous velocity

[Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

While I think all three definitions have relevance, the third definition would appear to be the most apt. An alternative source provides a similar definition:

  1. [Physics]
    Existing or measured at a particular instant.
    • ‘measurement of the instantaneous velocity’

[Oxford Living Dictionaries]

Example sentence in the context of this question:

This metric analyses the instantaneous value of the parameter.


What you're trying to do is graph something fixed that cannot remain fixed and is true only until you express it—at which point it becomes false.

Although it isn't a single word, and its explanation is a lot more nuanced than just what you're looking for, Zen Buddhism uses the term eternal now to express something close to what you're looking for.

From Brian Thompson's "The Eternal Now" at Zen Thinking:

Time is a concept of human mind, that can exist only within mind. Outside of mind and its multiplicity of concepts and theories, there is only the ever-present, continuous, and uninterrupted Now. Therefore, anything outside of the here and now is non-existent. The past is merely an appearance that exists within the human function of memory. It has no present reality.

That description also makes use of the term ever-present.

Note that in both cases an adjective needs to be added to the normally single word in order to more properly convey the sense sought. By adding eternal to now or ever- to present it forces us to think of something that fixed in our consciousness even though it is seemingly moving.

So, from the perspective of the eternal now, which always is (at any particular time), there is a perceived past and a perceived future.

Note: in the hope of getting you a single word out of this, I thought I'd look up the Japanese equivalent. Unfortunately, it seems to be expressed in three Japanese words. From Perversion and Modern Japan, edited by Nina Cornyetz and J. Keith Vincent:

Thus, the "woman" is the "Japanese 'eternal now'" (ein no ima)—or more accurately, the "eternity of the present" (ima no eien) which dominates the "ancient substratum" of historical consciousness with the "drive to go onwards."

Perhaps you can find some single word in a different language that expresses this—if any of them are able to express it in a single word, unlike what seems to be the case in English (or Japanese).

Alternatively, you could make use of this two-word phrase in the definition of the single word that you'll use in the remainder of your essay. Or you could opt to simply capitalize or represent [Now] in a different visual way when using it in this particular sense.


What about word beginning. Or you could add your own explanation/definition in the introduction part of your paper. For example: throughout this paper, I will refer to /your definition/ as initiation point/origo/origin/or something. Then you can always add note*(asterisk) with reference to definition, whenever this word appears in the text.

  • I agree with you saying I should define it. I spoke to a linguist friend of mine who said the same thing. Nov 26, 2018 at 9:04

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