There was a surreal, suspended moment, a fermata during which I heard a line of sitcom patter on a TV somewhere—Don't worry, sir, we'll have you doing the Lambeth Walk in no time—followed by that funhouse laughter, ha ha ha ha ha ha.
-- William Landay, Mission Flats, 2003
I had finally detached myself from that intoxicating fermata, thinking I should make some kind of an effort to pull myself together.
-- Katharine Weber, True Confessions, 2009
Fermata comes from the Italian word of the same spelling which means "stop" or "pause." It entered English in the late 1870s.