Definition of time in English:

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Pronunciation: /tʌɪm/


1 [mass noun] The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole: travel through space and time one of the greatest wits of all time
More example sentences
  • So many things could happen in such a short space of time and yet the whole day lay before her.
  • What we see here is simply the ordinary effect of the passage of time, from future to present to past.
  • It's a very large investment in terms of time moving the whole company to this.
1.1The continued progress of existence as affecting people and things: things were getting better as time passed
More example sentences
  • Several decades of time have passed by as quickly as the clouds have been blown away.
  • It would be revealing to return in five years' time to see whether Balgrean has stood the test of time.
  • The day will slip away from us as time passes, but not the clarity of the actions we took together in response.
1.2Time or an amount of time as reckoned by a conventional standard: it’s eight o’clock New York Time
More example sentences
  • Eastern Standard Time (EST) operates in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.
  • At 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, we set our clocks forward one hour ahead of standard time.
  • I told him what happened and he gave you an extension: it has to be in Washington by midnight our time.
1.3 (Time or Father Time) The personification of time, typically as an old man with a scythe and hourglass.
Example sentences
  • Power began to flow out from Father Time's scythe.
  • ‘If I can deliver presents all around the world in one night,’ Santa claims, ‘I sure can get you back to Father Time's Castle in a few Bongs!’
  • They have some very promising youngsters coming through as Father Time catches up with a few of their long serving stalwarts.
2A point of time as measured in hours and minutes past midnight or noon: the time is 9.30
More example sentences
  • The time was nine-fifteen. Time to turn out the lights.
  • I saw the time was eight minutes to four from my watch as I braced myself.
  • We were lucky - that was the only time that week that the Sunset made it as far as LA.
2.1A moment or definite portion of time allotted, used, or suitable for a purpose: the scheduled departure time shall we fix a time for the meeting?
More example sentences
  • Not being allowed to stay there at peak times defeated the purpose of the exercise.
  • Dates and times were fixed for all competitions and clubs had to adhere to all these dates.
  • So, similarly, most things in the middle of the night or before you get up can be ruled out; they are not suitable times.
2.2 (often time for/to do something) The favourable or appropriate time to do something: it was time to go it’s time for bed
More example sentences
  • The questions that follow from that for us can obviously be discussed at the appropriate time.
  • At the appropriate time, a subsequent order is issued that states the actual day and times.
  • He said he would wait for a more appropriate time to put the questions to the Government.
moment, point, point in time, occasion, hour, minute, second, instant, juncture, stage, phase
2.3 (a time) An indefinite period: travelling always distorts one’s feelings for a time
More example sentences
  • The worst day was the end of the month, a time when his funds were close to drying up.
  • I can remember a time only a few years ago when Leeds away was one of the toughest fixtures on the list.
  • Yet there may come a time when this era is remembered in some form of golden haze.
while, spell, stretch, stint, span, season, interval, period, period of time, length of time, duration, run, space, phase, stage, term
British informal patch
2.4 (also times) A portion of time in history or characterized by particular events or circumstances: Victorian times at the time of Galileo the park is beautiful at this time of year
More example sentences
  • This is a fight that's been going on not only in modern history but in Biblical times.
  • We truly are entering one of the most important times in world history.
  • We can also search for variations in at even earlier times in the history of the universe.
era, age, epoch, period, aeon, years, days;
generation, date
2.5 (also times) The conditions of life during a particular period: times have changed
More example sentences
  • Chris decided to change careers because changing market conditions meant bleak times for many producers.
  • A lot of men and women left this country when times were hard and prospered in foreign lands.
  • Daniel said that the centre had given him support and stability through hard times.
2.6 (the Times) Used in names of newspapers: the Oxford Times
More example sentences
  • For many years the London newspaper, The Times, carried an advertisement for colonic irrigation on its front page.
  • For there are a number of more subtle biases to be perceived by readers of newspapers like The Times - and other media as well.
  • Plagiarism has almost become mainstream in India now, with even a Times of India journalist indulging in the shameful act.
2.7 (one's time) One’s lifetime: I’ve known a lot of women in my time
More example sentences
  • I have seen some terrible things in my time.
  • I have always been into sports (in my time I have played/done cricket, badminton, circuit training, kick boxing, circuit training and even rock climbing!
lifetime, life, life span, allotted span, days, time on earth, existence, threescore years and ten;
this mortal coil
informal born days
2.8 (one's time) The successful, fortunate, or influential part of a person’s life or career: in my time that was unheard of
More example sentences
  • He hasn't grudged Andy a moment of his time in the spotlight but has been desperate for a taste of it of his own.
  • He may not be ready quite yet, but if he continues to progress Nieminen's time will come soon.
  • Fiammetta relishes his time in the spotlight.
heyday, day, hour, prime, best days/years, youth, vigour, springtime, salad days, maturity
2.9 (one's time) The appropriate or expected time for something, in particular childbirth or death: he seemed old before his time
More example sentences
  • I wanted to give the impression of a man old before his time and an almost stylised unnaturalistic feel to the model.
  • The anger still lingered even now, but then the shock had been such that she gave birth before her time.
  • Ask the mother who has given birth to a child before time.
2.10An apprenticeship: engineering officers traditionally served their time as fitters in the yards
More example sentences
  • Rob served his time as a plasterer and has over 33 years trade experience in the wall and floor tiling profession.
  • Jamie had served his time as a joiner and had worked in the. construction industry for the past 15 years.
2.11 dated A period of menstruation or pregnancy.
Example sentences
  • To occupy her time, she had been thinking of writing a biography of her husband.
2.12 [mass noun] The normal rate of pay for time spent working: if called out at the weekend they are paid time and a half
More example sentences
  • Anyone who works these holidays must give up the payments of double time and time and a half.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act has no requirement for double time pay.
  • Under the Holidays Act, if an employee works on any public holiday, that work now attracts a minimum payment of time and a half.
2.13The length of time taken to run a race or complete an event or journey: his time for the mile was 3:49.31
More example sentences
  • The lights were designed to improve bus journey times but according to residents they made traffic problems worse.
  • They include adding a minute per mile to the journey time and having enough petrol.
  • He added the lane had improved journey times for the 89 bus on that stretch of road by a minute.
2.14British The moment at which the opening hours of a pub end: the landlord called time
More example sentences
  • Outsiders might think that the York Beer Festival is all about getting as much quality real ale down your neck before time is called.
2.15 short for full time. he scored the third five minutes from time
More example sentences
  • They fell 2-1 behind to an Andy Cole goal 12 minutes from time.
  • Klose's final goal came just seven minutes from time.
  • Aloisi, who had replaced midfielder Cesar Palacios eight minutes earlier, pounced just before time to earn Osasuna a deserved draw.
2.16 Baseball & American Football A moment at which play stops temporarily within a game: the umpire called time
More example sentences
  • To your first question in regards to calling time, that is up to the umpire s judgement whether to call time or not.
  • Baseball players and managers of the offensive and defensive team, as well as umpires, can request time out for a number of purposes.
3 [mass noun] Time as allotted, available, or used: we need more time it would be a waste of time
More example sentences
  • On average, governors volunteer around five hours of their spare time each month.
  • The twenty minute drive gave her time to think and process what had just happened.
  • I spent two hours in the pub, left an hour early, and booked the time as overtime.
3.1 informal A prison sentence: he was doing time for fraud
More example sentences
  • He had a record for burglary stretching back to when he was 13 and had done time in prison.
  • They may serve time in prison, but they also receive treatment for their addiction.
  • I hope that the strong attitude that saw me through my career will see me through my time in prison.
4An instance of something happening or being done; an occasion: this is the first time I have got into debt the nurse came in four times a day
More example sentences
  • This time, the whole nation rises up as one, demanding a return to a life that has fun.
  • He politely checked the mobile with a quick glance each time, then continued without a pause.
  • I would try just several sheets of white paper on top next time rather than the whole platen.
4.1An event, occasion, or period experienced in a particular way: she was having a rough time of it
More example sentences
  • Her task is to bring together directors to share their knowledge and experiences, when times are tough as well as good.
  • The company does not expect a hefty compensation bill as other insurers have also experienced tough times.
  • Although Crook had a tough time in his teens, he insists it did not traumatise him.
situation, state of affairs, experience, life, way of life;
conditions, circumstances, affairs, surroundings, environment, context, background, ambience, atmosphere
5 (times) (Following a number) expressing multiplication: eleven times four is forty-four
More example sentences
  • Next the leftmost column is multiplied by 5 and then the middle column is subtracted as many times as possible.
  • The large rectangle ABDF is the same shape as CDFH, but is phi times as large.
  • Each digit we place to the left gets a value 10 times as great as the one to the right.
6 [mass noun] The rhythmic pattern of a piece of music, as expressed by a time signature: tunes in waltz time
More example sentences
  • Music in waltz time had come to England from the Continent in the late 1790s.
  • In compound time, the beat unit is always a dotted note value.
rhythm, tempo, beat, pulse, flow;
metre, measure, cadence, pattern;
accent, stress
6.1The tempo at which a piece of music is played or marked to be played.
Example sentences
  • The music is written in 3/4 time, which means there are three beats to a bar of music.
  • Reels are written in 2/4 time.


1 [with object and adverbial or infinitive] Plan, schedule, or arrange when (something) should happen or be done: the first track race is timed for 11.15 the bomb had been timed to go off an hour later
More example sentences
  • Its opening was timed to coincide with the City of Bradford exhibition which was held for several months in Lister Park.
  • We have timed the opening to coincide with the run-up to Christmas and it seems to be paying dividends.
  • I even timed my departure to coincide with Easter Holidays.
schedule, set, set up, arrange, organize, fix, fix up, fix a time for, book, line up, slot in, prearrange, timetable, bill, programme, plan;
North American  slate
1.1Perform (an action) at a particular moment: Williams timed his pass perfectly from about thirty yards
More example sentences
  • The blond full-back's pass to Paulse was perfectly timed and the wing made the 22 remaining metres with something to spare.
  • Winger Mark Wallace covered across and caught Owen but the fullback's perfectly timed pass found Calland in support and he ran clear to score.
  • Wilkinson's mature performance with perfectly timed passes and Tig's energy helped to secure the 19-7 win.
2 [with object] Measure the time taken by (a process or activity, or a person doing it): we were timed and given certificates according to our speed [with clause]: I timed how long it took to empty that tanker
More example sentences
  • This process should be timed carefully: too short and there will be no base flavour, too long and it will overpower.
  • Two police constables armed with a stopwatch had timed her between two measured points in Stirton and found she was travelling at 21 mph.
  • This was to make sure any potential event could be timed to the nearest thousandth of a second.
measure, put a stopwatch on, meter, count
informal clock
3 [with object] (time something out) Computing (Of a computer or a program) cancel an operation automatically because a predefined interval of time has passed without a certain event happening: connections are timed out when they’re not in use [no object]: some networks will time out if they don’t see activity going to the printer
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately some customers were timed out of the website and found that when they attempted to continue with their transaction, the six-digit code was no longer valid.
  • Host B will start a process and eventually time it out.
  • Connection timed out when trying to access System Tab.
3.1 (time out) (Of an operation) be cancelled automatically because a predefined interval of time has passed without a certain event happening.



about time

Used to convey that something now happening or about to happen should have happened earlier: it’s about time I came clean and admitted it
More example sentences
  • It is about time we woke up and took note of what is happening in our world.
  • It's about time we sorted a sensible compromise and not a draconian law.
  • Isn't it about time that they put some thought into the long-term future of the games?

against time

With utmost speed, so as to finish by a specified time: he was working against time
More example sentences
  • For a man so fond of speed, racing against time was probably a game that this Bollywood actor had no difficulty mastering.
  • She now faces a desperate race against time to raise about $5,000 to try to bring her son home to York.
  • Rescuers were racing against time last night to haul up a mini-submarine stuck 190 metres underwater near the Pacific coast before the seven sailors on board run out of air.

all the time

Constantly or very frequently: the airfield was in use all the time
More example sentences
  • Are we doing it all the time? If not, then why not?
  • You can't uproot your family and buy a new house when there's talk of closure all the time.
constantly, the entire time, around the clock, day and night, night and day, {morning, noon, and night}, {day in, day out}, at all times, always, without a break, ceaselessly, endlessly, incessantly, perpetually, permanently, interminably, unceasingly, continuously, continually, eternally, unremittingly, remorselessly, relentlessly
informal 24/7
archaic without surcease

at one time

In or during a known but unspecified past period: she was a nurse at one time
More example sentences
  • The ferry crew commented that it was the biggest number of dolphins they had seen together at one time in Scapa Flow.
  • We managed to prevent the fire spreading to a caravan park, which was a concern at one time.
  • Energy supply has been a huge issue in the past and at one time we considered the nuclear fuel option.
formerly, previously, once, in the past, at one point, at some point, once upon a time, time was when, in days/times gone by, in times past, in the (good) old days, back in the day, long ago
literary in days/times of yore, of yore
archaic sometime, erst, erstwhile, whilom

at the same time

1Simultaneously; at once: answer the telephone promptly and try to pick up a pencil and notepad at the same time
More example sentences
  • However, I can't seem to debug both Flex and Java at the same time. It's either one or the other.
  • Study at the same time every day.
simultaneously, at once, at the same time, at one and the same time, at the same instant/moment, concurrently, concomitantly;
together, all together, alongside each other, in unison, in concert, in chorus, as a group
simultaneously, at the same instant/moment, together, all together, as a group, at once, at one and the same time, at one time, concurrently, concomitantly, alongside each other, in unison, in concert, in chorus
2Nevertheless (used to introduce a fact that should be taken into account): I can’t really explain it, but at the same time I’m not convinced
More example sentences
  • But at the same time, I have to say sorry again because I cannot help hurting your feelings.
  • I will follow this traditional method of teaching, yet at the same time I have developed a new thrust in using it.
nevertheless, nonetheless, even so, however, but, still, yet, though, be that as it may, for all that, in spite of that/everything, despite that/everything, after everything, having said that, just the same, all the same, in any event, come what may, at any rate, notwithstanding, regardless, anyway, anyhow
informal still and all

at a time

Separately in the specified groups or numbers: he took the stairs two at a time
More example sentences
  • We can only view parts of it at a time and have to continually update stale parts of the view.
  • After five blocks he went through the door of the hotel and climbed the stairs two at a time.
  • He vaulted up the stairs two at a time, and knocked on the door twice before entering.

at times

Sometimes; on occasions: she is at times cruel and ruthless
More example sentences
  • Depression has at times locked me within my house, once for a period of six weeks.
  • We have had several cars driving far too close, almost on our bumper bar at times.
  • The scenery was breathtaking and it was a very enjoyable walk if a little gruelling at times.

before time

Before the due or expected time.
Example sentences
  • With an equal drive and devotion to achieving what some would think impossible, unrealistic targets were set very early and reached well before time.
  • But the enchanting music is here well before time.
  • He was very efficient and though there were 3 of us in the rickshaw instead of the usual 2, he got us to Puraniya crossing well before time.

behind time

Late: she was now behind time and had to rush
More example sentences
  • On another occasion, fire gutted the then indoor arena one show morning, but the schedule still went ahead only a few minutes behind time.
  • We arrived at York station 11 minutes behind time.
  • A company spokesman said very little silage had been cut and the season was already about three to four weeks behind time.
late, not on time, behind, behind schedule, behind target, behindhand, delayed, running late, overdue, belated, tardy, unpunctual;
slow, dilatory

behind the times

Not aware of or using the latest ideas or techniques; out of date: the children considered dad to be behind the times
More example sentences
  • If we fail to appoint a management team that is capable of moving with modern ideas, we will end up not three years behind the times but ten.
  • The Rail Passengers Committee believes companies are behind the times and need to get up to date.
  • Compare online shopping: in Europe it is not as widespread as in the U.S. and not simply because Europeans are backwards or behind the times.
old-fashioned, outmoded, out of fashion, out of date, unfashionable, frumpish, frumpy, out of style, outdated, dated, out, outworn, old, former, dead, musty, old-time, old-world, behindhand, past, bygone, archaic, obsolescent, obsolete, ancient, antiquated, superannuated;
defunct, medieval, prehistoric, antediluvian, old-fogeyish, old-fangled, conservative, backward-looking, quaint, anachronistic, crusted, feudal, fusty, moth-eaten, olde worlde;
informal old hat, square, not with it, out of the ark, creaky, clunky, mouldy
North American informal horse-and-buggy, rinky-dink, mossy
archaic square-toed

call time on

British Announce or signal the end of (an activity): she has decided to call time on her tennis career
More example sentences
  • He will then call time on a 14-year career.
  • A trade union has severed its 30-year ties and called time on an annual conference that brought hundreds of people and vital finance to the struggling resort.
  • The stunning actress called time on her engagement to the handsome actor after he blamed her for his infidelity.

for the time being

For the present; until some other arrangement is made.
Example sentences
  • However, he agreed to continue for the time being until a new secretary was appointed.
  • This is the review that recommended no more universities in Ireland for the time being.
  • A meeting of Skipton Rural Council decided to cease offering council houses for the time being.
for now, for the moment, for the present, in the interim, for the nonce, in/for the meantime, in the meanwhile;
for a short time, for a short/little while, briefly, momentarily, fleetingly;
informal for the minute
Latin pro tempore, ad interim;
French en attendant

give someone the time of day

[usually with negative] Be pleasantly polite or friendly to someone: I wouldn’t give him the time of day if I could help it
More example sentences
  • I wonder why people are so shocked, and sometimes scared when I don't mind giving them the time of day.
  • He'd heard my accent and decided there was no point giving me the time of day.
  • He was a self-motivated man who'd always give you the time of day.

half the time

As often as not: he’s so clever, half the time I can’t keep up with him
More example sentences
  • I accomplished it in half the time as my first attempt last week and the results are more polished.
  • The thing is, half the time, my friend would stir early and hover in the groggy world of the almost-awake.
  • He sits in the adjacent cubicle, and I am barely aware he's even there half the time.

have no time for

Be unable or unwilling to spend time on: he had no time for anything except essays and projects
More example sentences
  • Stressed-Out American Women Have No Time for Sleep.
  • We have no time for play or at least play dates and the answer is to have families double up on free time by including everybody.
  • She has no time for trivialities, and that includes worrying about what she looks like.
15.1Dislike or disapprove of: he’s got no time for airheads
More example sentences
  • The hospital superintendent and staff try to extend a cordial welcome, but the Minister has no time for such trivialities.
  • He shows, in his book, that he has no time for what he calls ‘fix-it’ MPs with mobile phones, pagers and e-mail.
  • It seems that if there's one thing she has no time for, it's female newscasters who are in the job only for their looks.

have the time

1Be able to spend the time needed to do something: she didn’t have the time to look very closely
More example sentences
  • Will they have the time to spend coming to grips with them?
  • During my exercise crazed days I wasn't working, so had the time to spend pumping weights and running around the aerobics arena.
  • We can afford to take advantage of some of the distractions that other people dream about but just being able to, having the time and the money to do it, doesn't make us any happier.
2Know from having a watch what time it is: as he gets close to me, he asks if I’ve got the time
More example sentences
  • I think the last time I wore a tie was March, and a watch is useless since your cell phone already has the time on it.
  • “Hey mate, have you got the time?”
  • Everybody with a cell phone has the time on it, so they're not selling as many watches as they once did.

in (less than) no time

Very quickly or very soon: the video has sold 30,000 copies in no time
More example sentences
  • The pitch was rigged in no time and we were soon at the bottom and making our way to Bridge Hall.
  • Otherwise, it may well find itself mopping up another banking mess in no time.
  • A country woman appeared in no time, holding a bundle of umbrellas in her hands.
(very) soon, in a second, in a minute, in a moment, in a trice, in a flash, shortly, any second, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, in an instant, in less than no time, in no time at all, in next to no time, before you know it, before long;
(very) quickly, rapidly, swiftly, at the speed of light;
suddenly, immediately, instantly, instantaneously, promptly, without delay, post-haste;
North American  momentarily
British informal in a tick, in two ticks, in a mo
North American informal in a snap

in one's own time

1 (also in one's own good time) At a time and a rate decided by oneself: the desire of the child to be free to do things, to create in his own way and in his own time
More example sentences
  • Instead, they would do well to find an occupation that doesn't depend for its pursuit on the patronage of the young - writing, gardening, anything that you can do on your own and in your own good time.
  • Mrs Rafferty said indifferently, ‘I reckon you'll tell me in your own good time.’
  • It doesn't require a brilliant business brain to work out that the best possible scenario for Texaco would be to get vacant possession and deal with Mr Mulvey in their own good time and on their terms.
2 (US on one's own time) Outside working hours; without being paid: I painted mostly in my own time
More example sentences
  • Most departments required them to complete the survey on their own time, outside of work.
  • You can take courses on your own schedule, you can do it on your own time - all of that has tremendous appeal to students who are older, students with jobs and families.
  • I don't dispute an employer's right to tell you what to do during work hours, and I suppose they have the right to contract for control over even the opinions you express on your own time.

in time

1Not late; punctual: I came back in time for Molly’s party
More example sentences
  • It is thanks to this additional work that phase one of the roadworks is now scheduled to end in time for the Christmas rush.
  • The organisers of the protest now face a desperate rush over the next month to ensure that they are ready in time for the summit.
  • The service will be launched at the end of the summer in time for the winter surge, but registration begins next week.
early enough, in good time, punctually, promptly, on time, not too late, with time to spare, at the appointed/right time, on schedule
2Eventually: there is the danger that he might, in time, not be able to withstand temptation
More example sentences
  • Chloe should, in time, give thanks for her deliverance from corporate clutches.
  • They'll skip it in time, tuning in only to the rage around the resplendence.
  • The tunes would come in time, but Flowers dealt with the wardrobe issue almost immediately.
eventually, ultimately, finally, in the end, as time goes on/by, by and by, one day, some day, sooner or later, in a while, after a bit, in the long run, in the fullness of time, when all is said and done, at a later time, at a later date, at length, at a future time/date, at some point in the future, in the future, in time to come, in due course
3In accordance with the appropriate musical rhythm or tempo.
Example sentences
  • A couple of horses grazed nearby, their tails swinging in time to the rhythm.
  • An articulated lorry pulled up alongside someway in time to the classical music on the radio.
  • This is one way of ensuring that the music will be played exactly in time.

keep good (or bad) time

1(Of a clock or watch) record time accurately (or inaccurately).
Example sentences
  • It was a matter of pride to possess a clock that kept good time and people went to great lengths to secure it.
  • So it was a privilege for me to be get up close to see the ingenious workings of Harrison's magnificent clock, still keeping good time, nearly 300 years after it was made.
  • Officials from the town hall were called in to investigate and promised that the clock would be keeping good time again as soon as possible.
2(Of a person) be habitually punctual (or not punctual).
Example sentences
  • Shallow water is the best place to find and catch barble and they normally move into these areas at about 10am although they do not keep time well.
  • In law firms this is of particular importance as firms are looking for people who are able to keep time well as their whole income depends upon it.

keep time

Play or rhythmically accompany music in time.
Example sentences
  • While busy having fun singing the songs and acting out the motions, a child is subconsciously acquiring a vocabulary of rhythms and melodies and developing the ability to sing in pitch and keep time with the music.
  • Nanu's feet kept time to the music and the bells strapped to his ankles chimed softly.
  • However, at most music shows these days, organisers and security personnel don't seem to mind exuberant youngsters climbing onto their chairs, just to wave and sway, keeping time to the music.

lose no time

Do a specified thing as soon as possible: the administration lost no time in trying to regain the initiative
More example sentences
  • Recently restored to the shadow cabinet, the right-winger has lost no time in pushing the traditionalists' case.
  • Professor Tribe lost no time in acknowledging the accuracy of Bottum's charge, as reported by the Harvard Crimson.
  • She lost no time in removing the gag as quickly as possible.

not before time

Used to convey that something now happening or about to happen should have happened earlier: a new law is proposed to curb this type of blatantly dishonest description, and not before time
More example sentences
  • ‘Well done Peter’, we all say, and not before time!
  • And it is not before time that he is recognised and I am absolutely delighted for him.
  • These new officers are not before time, but we still need more bobbies on the beat.

no time

A very short interval or period: the renovations were done in no time
More example sentences
  • It takes no time at all to prepare and is a hearty and satisfying autumn or winter meal.
  • In no time at all the fiddler was able to retrieve what was left of his leg and a great cheer went up from the dancers.
  • It takes no time to scrub and debeard the things when you've got a host of hands and a few glasses of wine on the go.

on time

Punctual; punctually: the train was on time we paid our bills on time
More example sentences
  • Immediately she took over the practical details of his life, seeing that bills get paid on time.
  • Just because you can code a reverse compiler in your sleep doesn't mean you pay your phone bill on time.
  • This time, Michael is being sued for apparently not paying his vet bills on time.
punctual(ly), prompt(ly), in time, in good time, to/on schedule, when expected, timely, well timed
informal on the dot
British informal bang/spot on time

out of time

At the wrong time or period: I felt that I was born out of time
More example sentences
  • On stage, she wears white pre-Raphaelite frocks, and she confesses to being born out of time.
  • He seems a figure born almost out of time, a figure from the English Civil War born into the early 20th century.
  • Half tale of an adolescent's lost innocence, half a denunciation of racial intolerance, it seems curiously out of time on the big screen now, yet is brilliantly realised as both film and politics.

pass the time of day

Exchange greetings or casual remarks.
Example sentences
  • They passed the time of day, and chatted for a few minutes, as dozens, if not hundreds or more, students then went to their next classes.
  • A few women stood chatting in the water, only their heads showing above the rippled surface - looking as natural as old ladies passing the time of day at a London bus stop.
  • The market was well attended, and increasingly one sees people sitting outside under trees, passing the time of day, almost as if we were in the Continent!

time after time (also time and again or time and time again)

On very many occasions; repeatedly.
Example sentences
  • Is this the story of violence, suffering and dashed hopes Africa is condemned to repeat time and time again?
  • They just repeat the old ones time and again to the end of their years.
  • Last week on a tour of the United States, he repeated this message time and again.
frequently, often, repeatedly, again and again, over and over (again), time and (time) again, time after time, many times, on many occasions, many times over;
{day in, day out}, day after day, {week in, week out}, night and day, all the time;
North American  oftentimes;
Latin ad nauseam
literary many a time and oft, oft, oft-times
repeatedly, again and again, over and over (again), time and (time) again, frequently, often, many times, many a time, on many occasions, many times over;
{day in, day out}, day after day, {week in, week out}, night and day, all the time;
North American  oftentimes;
Latin ad nauseam
literary many a time and oft, oft, oft-times

time and tide wait for no man

proverb If you don’t make use of a favourable opportunity, you may never get the same chance again.
Example sentences
  • But time and tide wait for no man - or ship - and the vessel will be taken up the river Medway, where it will be turned into a bar and restaurant.
  • Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, time and tide wait for no man.
  • ‘Yes, but let's get moving; time and tide wait for no man, as the saying goes,’ offered Stilwell.

time flies

Used as an observation that time seems to pass very quickly: people say time flies when you’re having fun my daughter started school in September—oh, how time flies
Translation of tempus fugit
More example sentences
  • Time flies when you're falling in love.
  • How time flies - to me it's like yesterday since you were a teenager.
  • Make the most of your leisure hours because time flies even when you're not having fun - especially if your commute is long and your workload spills into nights and weekends.

time immemorial

A time in the past that was so long ago that people have no knowledge or memory of it: markets had been held there from time immemorial
More example sentences
  • Around since time immemorial, the antiquated Granby Zoo continues to serve as a classic example of old-style zoos.
  • To find themselves in such a situation is out of pure disregard of a yearly phenomenon that has been uninterrupted since time immemorial.
  • The traditional practices are the most difficult to deal with since they are about attitude and our way of life going back to time immemorial.

time is money

proverb Time is a valuable resource, therefore it’s better to do things as quickly as possible.
Example sentences
  • My experience is what happens is that people just pull it down as quickly as possible, because time is money, and any possible safety problems are just completely ignored.
  • They say time is money and your time is valuable.
  • There he could check pipelines very quickly, in an industry where time is money.

the time of one's life

A period or occasion of exceptional enjoyment.
Example sentences
  • Everyone will be having the time of their life except me!
  • He was in his element; no one was able to stop him from having the time of his life, dipping and soaring as eagles tended to do.
  • There's a little kid just in front of me not older than 9-years-old absolutely having the time of his life watching the gig from the dizzy heights of his dad's shoulders.

time of the month

euphemistic The time during which a woman or girl has her period; an occurrence of menstruation: they assume that if I am upset about anything, it must be my time of the month
More example sentences
  • Then my time of the month rolled around - or didn't, rather.
  • I used to cringe about telling him that my time of the month was due.
  • Now I know how she feels when she can't get into her jeans during that time of the month.

time out of mind

another way of saying time immemorial.

time was

There was a time when: time was, each street had its own specialized trade
More example sentences
  • Time was when all you needed to get around in the chilly North was a fur coat, a wooden sled and a good team of dogs.
  • Time was when the big man, a steamfitter by trade, would have thought it mad folly to come to Ed Massey's for anything but a haircut.

(only) time will tell

The truth or correctness of something will (only) be established at some time in the future: only time will tell whether Benson is right
More example sentences
  • Only time will tell, but the future certainly looks bright.
  • As to who was telling the truth, only time will tell.
  • As for its reliability at predicting future battles, only time will tell.


Old English tīma, of Germanic origin; related to tide, which it superseded in temporal senses. The earliest of the current verb senses (dating from late Middle English) is 'do (something) at a particular moment'.

  • To the Anglo-Saxons time and tide meant the same thing. Both time immemorial and its equivalent time out of mind were originally legal formulas. Their exact meaning was ‘a time beyond legal memory’, which was fixed very precisely by statute in 1276 as 1 July 1189, the beginning of the reign of Richard I. The idea was that if you could prove possession of a land or a title or right from that date there was no need to establish when or how it was originally acquired. Not surprisingly, everyone but the lawyers soon forgot the specific meaning and both phrases developed the more general sense of ‘a very long time ago’. We hear a lot today about the ‘money-rich but time-poor’ lives of many in the West, and the expression time is money has a very modern ring to it. But it seems to have been coined as long ago as 1748 by the American statesman and scientist Benjamin Franklin, in a speech entitled ‘Advice to Young Tradesmen’. Before that the thought had clearly occurred to many over the centuries, as ‘the most costly outlay is time’ is attributed to the ancient Athenian orator and politician Antiphon. See also move

Words that rhyme with time

begrime, Chaim, chime, climb, clime, crime, dime, grime, half-time, I'm, lime, mime, mistime, part-time, prime, rhyme, rime, slime, sublime, sub-prime, thyme

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: time

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