Fermata

I’ve always liked the word and concept of fermata. In music, it means to momentarily suspend the beat. It doesn’t mean to pause for a beat or two, it means that the beat actually stops for a short time. It’s unmeasured time. Your foot stops tapping, the pulse is suspended. It’s a special moment.

fer-MA-ta

  1. The prolongation of a tone, chord, or rest beyond its indicated time value.
  2. The sign indicating this prolongation.

[Italian, from feminine past participle of fermare, to stop, from Latin firmāre, to make firm, from firmus, firm.]