time1 S1 W1
the thing that is measured in minutes, hours, days, years etc using clocks:
Einstein changed the way we think about space and time.
close relationships established over a long period of time
Customers have only a limited amount of time to examine the goods.
time passes/goes by
Their marriage got better as time went by.
a particular point in time shown on a clock in hours and minutes:
on a clock[singular]
'What time is it?' 'It's about two thirty.'
What time are you going out tonight?
what time do you make it? British English /what time do you have? American English (=used to ask someone with a watch what time it is)
have you got the time? British English /do you have the time? American English (=used to ask someone if they know what time it is)
tell the time British English /tell time American English (=be able to understand a clock)
Robin's just learning to tell the time.
look at the time (=used when you realize that it is later than you thought it was)
Oh no. Look at the time. I'll be late.
is that the time? (=used when you suddenly realize what the time is)
Is that the time? I must go.
this time tomorrow/last week etc
By this time tomorrow I'll know whether I've got the job.
an occasion when something happens or someone does something:
That was the only time we disagreed.
Do you remember the time I hit Tom Benson?
Mary had seen the film many times.
(for) the first/second/last etc time
It was the first time that he had lost a game.
Gerry had just had back surgery for the third time in two years.
(the) next time/(the) last time/this time
Why don't you drop in for a drink next time you're over this way?
The last time (=the most recent time) I saw Jonathan was Thursday evening.
The freezing weather did not return until February but this time we were prepared.
the first/second/next/last etc time round (=the first, second etc time something happens)
I missed their concert the first time round so I'm going next week.
I meet up with Julie every time I go to Washington.
how many times ...?
How many times did you take your driving test?
How many times have I told you not to wander off like that? (=I have told you many times)
One time (=once) I went to a garage sale and bought fifteen books.
the particular minute, hour, day etc when something happens or should happen
point when something happens[uncountable and countable]
at the time of something
She was three months pregnant at the time of Stephen's death.
at some/any/that time
He is performing as well as at any time in his career.
The UK has 500,000 stray dogs on its streets at any one time (=at any particular time).
at a/the time when ...
At the time when this scheme was introduced, it was recognised that there might be problems.
by the time ...
The phone was ringing but by the time she got indoors, it had stopped.
it's time to do something
Rosie - it's time to get up.
it's time for something
Come on, it's time for bed.
He glanced at his watch. 'It's time for me to go.'
it's time somebody did something
It's time I fed the dog.
Now is the right time for us to move to London.
a good/bad time
This might be a good time to start planning the new garden.
not the time/hardly the time
Now is not the time to annoy Peter.
there's no time like the present (=used to say that now is a good time to do something)
'When do you want to meet?' 'Well, there's no time like the present.'
dinner/lunch/tea etc time
It's nearly dinner time.
opening/closing time (=the time when a shop, bar etc opens or closes)
We empty the till each night at closing time.
arrival/departure time (=the time when a train, plane etc arrives or leaves)
Our estimated arrival time is 2:30 pm.
time of day/year
England is so lovely at this time of year.
We'll sort that out when the time comes (=when it becomes necessary).
a period of time during which something happens or someone does something:
period of time[singular, uncountable]
Dustin wanted to spend as much time as possible with his family.
a long/short/limited time
I first met Jennifer a long time ago.
They stopped for a short time to rest the horses.
Andy and Tom talked for some time (=for a fairly long period).
Alison was married, for a time (=for a fairly short period), to a comedian.
Martin disliked being away from his family for any length of time (=for more than just a short period).
It took her a long time to make a decision.
Learning a language isn't easy - it takes time (=takes a long period of time).
take time to do something (=deliberately spend time doing something)
While in New York he took time to visit some friends.
The journey time to London is approximately four hours.
an amount of time that is available for you to do something:
I'll visit him if I have time.
Molly would like to do some diving if there is time.
have/get time to do something
How do you get time to study?
have time for something
She realized she would have time for a coffee before her train left.
We don't have to rush. We have all the time in the world (=have plenty of time).
June had little time to spare (=available time) for making her own clothes.
free/spare time (=time when you are not working)
He writes poetry in his spare time.
Being prepared for meetings will save time.
I don't want to waste time arguing.
She spent precious time (=valuable and important time) looking for a telephone.
I seem to spend most of my time on the phone.
McDuff passed the time writing letters (=wrote letters because he had nothing else to do).
have time on your hands/time to kill (=not have enough to do)
Now the children have left home, she has too much time on her hands.
make/find time (for something/to do something) (=plan so that you have time available for something)
Make time to talk to your children.
Book your ticket soon, as time is running out.
time's up (=used to say that it is the end of the time allowed for something such as a competition or examination)
we're out of time (=used on radio and television programmes to say that there is no more time available on the programme)
7 also the whole time
continuously or very often:
I keep practising and I'm improving all the time.
He worries about her the whole time.
very often or almost always:
I can speak German but we speak English most of the time.
if something happens half the time, especially something annoying, it happens quite often:
Half the time you don't even notice what I'm wearing.
Life is hard at times.
sometimes, but not regularly or very often:
These food safety scares happen from time to time.
often, over a long period:
The police were catching the same kids stealing time after time.
always - used especially in official rules and statements:
Children must be supervised at all times while in the park.
Parents are welcome at all times.
used to say that something is almost always true or almost always happens:
Nine times out of ten she's right.
at a particular moment or period in the past when something happened, especially when the situation is very different now:
I was about ten or eleven at the time.
at a time in the past but not now:
At one time she wanted to be a nurse, but the thought of working at night put her off.
17 American English
at this particular moment:
The President said his actions were 'the right ones at this time'.
used to say strongly that something never happened or should never happen
at no time did/was etc
At no time did anyone involved speak to the press.
At no time was the company informed.
for a short period of time from now, but not permanently:
Now, for the time being, she is living with her father in Tijuana.
ten days, five years etc from now:
He has an appointment with the doctor in two days' time.
before the time by which it is necessary for something to be done:
Will you be able to finish it in time?
in time to do something
They ran all the way to the corner just in time to see the bus disappearing up the street.
in time for
The painting was successfully repaired in time for the opening of the exhibition.
in good time/in plenty of time (=a long time before the necessary time)
We arrived at the concert hall in good time.
after a certain period of time, especially after a gradual process of change and development:
He wants to see changes in the company and I am sure he will, in time.
sooner than expected or necessary:
We should arrive in New York with time to spare.
if something happens over time, it happens gradually during a long period:
The research project will be assessed over time.
Students are encouraged to consider the way language changes over time.
after a period of time:
These symptoms will start to get better with time.
I would have thought of the answer, given time.
to do something slowly or carefully without hurrying
take your time doing something
Marie took her time cutting my hair and did it really well.
take your time over
He had planned to take his time over the journey.
to do something more slowly than seems reasonable:
You're taking your time with the lab tests. We need the results now.
used to say how much greater, more etc one thing is than another:
Sound travels four times faster in water than in air.
There were three times as many girls as boys.
if someone deals with things one, three, ten etc at a time, they deal with them separately or in groups of three, ten etc:
If you raise your hands, I'll answer questions one at a time.
Frank took the stairs two at a time.
if something happens for hours, days, months etc at a time, it continues for several hours, months etc:
Because of his work, he's often away for weeks at a time.
at the correct time or the time that was arranged:
Jack was worried about whether he'd be able to get there on time.
right/bang/dead on time (=at exactly the right time)
The plane arrived right on time.
earlier or later than the time when something happens, should be done etc:
Prepare what you plan to say in the meeting ahead of time (=before the meeting).
The train left twenty minutes behind time (=after it should have left).
30 also it's high time spoken
used to say strongly that you think something should happen soon or should already have happened:
It's about time our team won.
It's high time we had a party.
used to say that something should have happened sooner:
Philip is going to be punished and not before time.
the best, biggest etc of a particular kind of person or thing that has ever existed:
He is the greatest athlete of all time, in my opinion.
very quickly or soon:
We'll be there in no time.
'When is she due back?' 'Any time now.'
used to say that something will definitely happen at some time in the future, but you do not know when:
I'll find the key eventually. It's just a question of time.
It's only a matter of time before we catch the person who killed her.
used to say that at some time in the future it will become clear whether or not something is true, right etc:
Only time will tell if the treatment has been successful.
a particular period in history:
period in history[countable] also times [plural]
Mankind has used the horse since ancient times.
In earlier times, servants would use the bare wooden stairs at the back of the house.
at/in/during etc the time of something
He lived at the time of the Napoleonic wars.
our time(s) (=the present period in history)
Air pollution has become one of the most significant health problems of our time.
Our equipment is a bit behind the times.
to change when other things in society, business etc change:
We've got to move with the times.
having or using the most advanced ideas, methods, designs, technology etc:
Coleridge was far ahead of his time in his understanding of the unconscious.
a good time, bad time, difficult time etc is a period or occasion when you have good, bad, difficult etc experiences:
This was the happiest time of her life.
good/bad/hard etc times
They had their happy times, but they had their hard times too.
have a good/great/lovely etc time (=enjoy yourself)
Did you have a good time at the party?
Julie went to a wedding at the weekend and had the time of her life (=enjoyed herself very much).
the period of time when you were living in a particular place, working for a particular company etc:
In her time at the United Nations she was considered a tough negotiator.
before you were born or before you started working or living somewhere:
They say he was a great actor but that was before my time.
if you do something, especially get old, before your time, you do it before the time when most people usually do it in their lives:
He seemed to grow into an old man before his time.
the way of referring to points in time in one particular part of the world:
in part of the world[uncountable]TMC
Eastern Standard Time
British Summer Time
The flight to Boston arrives at 1.15 pm local time.
the amount of time taken by a competitor in a race:
in a race[countable]
The Olympic medallist's time in the 200 metres final was 2 minutes 11.56 seconds.
the end of the normal period of playing time in a sports game, especially football [= full time]:
sports[uncountable] British English
Mason's goal 13 minutes from time earned his team a place in the finals.
the number of beats in each bar in a piece of music:
Waltzes are usually in three-four time.
if you do something in time to a piece of music, you do it using the same rhythm and speed as the music:
Gloria was tapping her feet in time to the music.
to show the rhythm and speed that a piece of music should be played at to a group of musicians, using your hands
if a clock keeps good time, it always shows the correct time
to spend a period of time in prison:
Paul was doing time for burglary.
to say hello to someone and have a short talk with them:
People like to pass the time of day with neighbours.
used to say that there was a time when you used to be able to do something, when something used to happen etc:
Time was when no one had television.
used to say that you must do something quickly because there is very little time
if you make good time on a journey, you travel quickly, especially more quickly than you expected:
We made good time and were at the hotel by lunchtime.
to try to finish or achieve something even though you have very little time:
Mark was racing against time to complete the work by Friday.
used to say that wasting time or delaying something costs money
used to say that someone is young enough to be able to wait before doing something or until something happens
used to say that someone will become less upset as time passes
used to say that time seems to pass very quickly:
Time flies when you're having fun.
if you study or do work in your own time, you do it outside normal school or work hours:
Nurses in training study in their own time.
when you are ready:
Bobby will tell them about it in his own good time.
used to tell someone to be patient because something they are waiting for will certainly happen after a period of time, and probably quite soon:
'I'd love to see it.' 'All in good time.'
if you have a lot of time for someone or something, you like or admire them:
He has no time for (=does not like) people who talk too much.
used to refer to someone's age:
At my time of life, you can't take too many shocks like that.
used in certain expressions to refer to the period when you are alive
in your time
I've met some rude women in my time but she's the worst.
He was many things in his time - musician, pilot, cattle-rancher, industrialist, journalist.
If I had my time over again (=lived my life again), I'd probably do exactly the same things.
the time when a woman has her period:
It's that time of the month.
a very long time, or a very long time ago
➔ big time1, full-time, half-time, part-time, real-time