Defining moments!


I have been using the given phrase/expression without really knowing its meaning…could you please tell me what are:

[color=blue]Defining moments.


Critical junctures; incidents that reflect the essence of a situation.

Random House: a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified.

Webster’s: an occurrence that typifies or determines all related events that follow.

Could you please simplify the above for me a bit more?
What is essence of a situation? How can I use it in my sentence?


Dear Mister Micawber

If I am going through a tough time and see the true colors of my friends who refuse to even recognise me, could I possibly say:

1- Now some defining moments later, I can say/ know who is who!



Defining moments are rarer than that, Tom. We are lucky if we consciously experience more than one or two in our lives.

I’ll leave you to sort out ‘essence of a situation’ and ‘critical juncture’ with a good dictionary.

Hi Tom,

A defining moment in your life is a time that you look back on later in life. It is a time when you experienced something that in later life you realise had an effect on you of huge significance. Let me tell you about such a moment as described by the Romantic English poet, William Wordsworth writing in the late 18th century who describes how as a boy he went rowing on a lake near his home and becomes frightened in the moonlight by the sight of a massive cliff that to him suddenly takes on a living form and appears to be chasing him. It was this that started his respect and admiration for his natural surroundings and this was to set him on his way to being a great poet. A highly literary illustration but I hope it gives some hint of a defining moment.


Hi Alan,

Does it mean that momento mori is (are) defining moment(s)?

Hi Tamara,

Did you mean memento mori? I think that is something quite different because to me a defining moment is essentially positive but something that you don’t fully appreciate till later.


Yes. Sorry…

There is a term in psychology - insight.
A very special and greatly impressive moment of sudden! enlightenment (:))

As I suppose, it (insight) can be a defining moment.

And also…
Say, if you stay at the very edge of Grand Canyon, you actually feel the touch of eternity. And never in your life can forget this moment.
It will definitely define your further being.