# Thread: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

1. Newbie
Join Date
Mar 2006
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1

## Using "Bit" as an amount of time

Does anyone know the amount of time represented by the word "bit". For example... I'll be back in a bit. It is an extra credit question from my son's math teacher. Jiffy was the other word and that is 10 milliseconds. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
-L

2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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Nov 2002
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40,110

## Re: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

I don't know of any scientific definition for 'bit'. There are two for jiffy, though:
http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/dictJ.html#jiffy
The same site doesn't give anything for bit.

3. ## Re: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

The only scientific use for "bit" that I know is a single binary digit. A bit can be set to 0 or 1; and there are 8 bits in one byte.

4. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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## Re: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

Me too; and I can't see how that can be used as a measure of time.

5. ## Re: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

I didn't even know that "jiffy" had a set time frame. O_o

As for bit, there's no time frame for that, either. I usually think of it as one to two hours:

"I'm going shopping; I'll be back in a bit."
"I'm going to go visit a friend; I'll be back in a bit."
"I've got to go eat; I'll call you back in a bit."

6. Newbie
Join Date
Feb 2006
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## Re: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

I know that scientists often take common words and use them for obscure meanings, as in the Jiffy example quoted.

I was intrigued by your question and just spent some time searching to see if I could find a specific technical use for 'bit', but with no success.

7. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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Nov 2002
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## Re: Using "Bit" as an amount of time

Yes- I'd love to know as well.

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