time ( times plural & 3rd person present) ( timing present participle) ( timed past tense & past participle )
1 n-uncount Time is what we measure in minutes, hours, days, and years.
...a two-week period of time..., Time passed, and still Ma did not appear..., The social significance of religion has changed over time.
2 n-sing You use time to ask or talk about a specific point in the day, which can be stated in hours and minutes and is shown on clocks.
`What time is it?'<emdash10001`Eight o'clock.'..., He asked me the time..., What time did he leave?..., The time is now 19 minutes past the hour.
3 n-count The time when something happens is the point in the day when it happens or is supposed to happen.
Departure times are 08:15 from St Quay, and 18:15 from St Helier.
4 n-uncount You use time to refer to the system of expressing time and counting hours that is used in a particular part of the world.
The incident happened just after ten o'clock local time.
5 n-uncount You use time to refer to the period that you spend doing something or when something has been happening.
also a N
Adam spent a lot of time in his grandfather's office..., He wouldn't have the time or money to take care of me..., Listen to me, I haven't got much time..., The route was blocked for some time..., For a long time I didn't tell anyone..., A short time later they sat down to eat...
6 n-sing If you say that something has been happening for a time, you mean that it has been happening for a fairly long period of time.
He stayed for quite a time..., After a time they came to a pond.
7 n-count You use time to refer to a period of time or a point in time, when you are describing what is happening then. For example, if something happened at a particular time, that is when it happened. If it happens at all times, it always happens.
with supp, oft prep N
We were in the same college, which was male-only at that time..., By this time he was thirty..., It was a time of terrible uncertainty..., Homes are more affordable than at any time in the past five years..., It seemed like a good time to tell her...
8 n-count You use time or times to talk about a particular period in history or in your life.
with supp, usu adj N, N of n
We'll be alone together, quite like old times..., We are in one of the most severe recessions in modern times...
9 n-plural You can use the times to refer to the present time and to modern fashions, tastes, and developments. For example, if you say that someone keeps up with the times, you mean they are fashionable or aware of modern developments. If you say they are behind the times, you mean they are unfashionable or not aware of them.
This approach is now seriously out of step with the times..., Johnny has changed his image to fit the times.
10 n-count When you describe the time that you had on a particular occasion or during a particular part of your life, you are describing the sort of experience that you had then.
Sarah and I had a great time while the kids were away..., She's had a really tough time the last year and a half...
11 n-sing Your time is the amount of time that you have to live, or to do a particular thing.
Now Martin has begun to suffer the effects of AIDS, and he says his time is running out...
12 n-uncount If you say it is timefor something, timeto do something, or time you did something, you mean that this thing ought to happen or be done now.
oft N for n, N to-inf, N that
Opinion polls indicated a feeling among the public that it was time for a change..., It was time for him to go to work..., This was no time to make a speech...
13 n-count When you talk about a time when something happens, you are referring to a specific occasion when it happens.
Every time she travels on the bus it's delayed by at least three hours..., The last time I saw her was about sixteen years ago...
14 n-count You use time after numbers to say how often something happens.
usu num/ord N
It was her job to make tea three times a day...
15 n-plural You use times after numbers when comparing one thing to another and saying, for example, how much bigger, smaller, better, or worse it is.
num N compar, num N as adj/adv, num N n
Its profits are rising four times faster than the average company..., ...an area five times the size of Britain.
16 conj You use times in arithmetic to link numbers or amounts that are multiplied together to reach a total.
Four times six is 24.
17 n-count Someone's time in a race is the amount of time it takes them to finish the race.
with supp, oft poss N, N of n
He was over a second faster than his previous best time...
18 n-uncount The time of a piece of music is the number of beats that the piece has in each bar.
usu supp N, oft in N
A reel is in four-four time, and a jig is in six-eight time.
19 verb If you time something for a particular time, you plan or decide to do it or cause it to happen at this time.
He timed the election to coincide with new measures to boost the economy... V n to-inf
We had timed our visit for March 7... V n for n
He had timed his intervention well... V n adv
Operation Amazon is timed to coincide with the start of the dry season. V-ed, Also V n
20 verb If you time an action or activity, you measure how long someone takes to do it or how long it lasts.
He timed each performance with a stop-watch. V n
22 If you say it is about time that something was done, you are saying in an emphatic way that it should happen or be done now, and really should have happened or been done sooner.
about time phrase it v-link PHR that, PHR as reply (emphasis)
It's about time a few movie makers with original ideas were given a chance...
23 If you do something ahead of time, you do it before a particular event or before you need to, in order to be well prepared.
ahead of time phrase PHR after v
Find out ahead of time what regulations apply to your situation.
24 If someone is ahead of their time or before their time, they have new ideas a long time before other people start to think in the same way.
ahead of/before one's time phrase v-link PHR, oft PHR in -ing
My mother was ahead of her time. She surrounded me with culture and art.
25 If something happens or is done all the time, it happens or is done continually.
all the time phrase PHR after v
We can't be together all the time...
26 You say at a time after an amount to say how many things or how much of something is involved in one action, place, or group.
at a time phrase amount PHR
Beat in the eggs, one at a time...
27 If something could happen at any time, it is possible that it will happen very soon, though nobody can predict exactly when.
at any time phrase PHR with cl
Conditions are still very tense and the fighting could escalate at any time.
28 You say at the best of times when you are making a negative or critical comment to emphasize that it is true even when the circumstances are as favourable as possible.
at the best of times phrase PHR with cl (emphasis)
A trade war would be bad at the best of times, but in the current economic climate, it would be a disaster.
29 If you say that something was the case at one time, you mean that it was the case during a particular period in the past.
at one time phrase PHR with cl
At one time 400 men, women and children lived in the village.
30 If two or more things exist, happen, or are true at the same time, they exist, happen, or are true together although they seem to contradict each other.
at the same time phrase PHR with cl
I was afraid of her, but at the same time I really liked her...
31 At the same time is used to introduce a statement that slightly changes or contradicts the previous statement.
at the same time phrase PHR with cl
I don't think I set out to come up with a different sound for each album. At the same time, I do have a sense of what is right for the moment.
32 You use at times to say that something happens or is true on some occasions or at some moments.
at times phrase PHR with cl/group
The debate was highly emotional at times...
33 If you say that something was before your time, you mean that it happened or existed before you were born or before you were able to know about it or remember it.
before your time phrase usu v-link PHR
`You've never seen the Marilyn Monroe film?'<emdash>`No, I think it was a bit before my time.'
34 If someone has reached a particular stage in life before their time, they have reached it at a younger age than is normal.
before your time phrase PHR after v
The small print has forced me, years before my time, to buy spectacles...
35 If you say not before time after a statement has been made about something that has been done, you are saying in an emphatic way that you think it should have been done sooner.
not before time phrase PHR with cl (emphasis)
The virus is getting more and more attention, and not before time...
36 If you call time on something, you end it.
(mainly BRIT, JOURNALISM)
call time on phrase V inflects
Scott Hastings has called time on his international career by cutting short his contract.
37 Someone who is doing time is in prison.
to do time phrase V inflects
He is serving 11 years for robbery, and did time for a similar offence before that.
38 If you say that something will be the case for all time, you mean that it will always be the case.
for all time phrase usu PHR with v, PHR with group
The desperate condition of the world is that madness has always been here, and that it will remain so for all time.
39 If something is the case or will happen for the time being, it is the case or will happen now, but only until something else becomes possible or happens.
for the time being phrase PHR with cl
For the time being, however, immunotherapy is still in its experimental stages...
40 If you do something from time to time, you do it occasionally but not regularly.
from time to time phrase PHR with v, PHR with cl
Her daughters visited him from time to time when he was ill.
41 If you say that something is the case half the time you mean that it often is the case.
half the time phrase PHR with cl
Half the time, I don't have the slightest idea what he's talking about.
42 If you say that you have no time for a person or thing, you mean you do not like them or approve of them, and if you say that you have a lot of time for a person or thing, you mean you like them or approve of them very much.
to have no time/a lot of time for sb phrase V inflects, PHR n
When I think of what he's done to my mother and me, I've just got no time for him...
43 If you say that it is high time that something happened or was done, you are saying in an emphatic way that it should happen or be done now, and really should have happened or been done sooner.
it is high time phrase V inflects, PHR that, PHR to-inf (emphasis)
It is high time the Government displayed a more humanitarian approach towards victims of the recession...
44 If you are in timefor a particular event, you are not too late for it.
in time phrase PHR after v, oft PHR for n, PHR to-inf
I arrived just in time for my flight to London...
45 If you say that something will happen in time or given time, you mean that it will happen eventually, when a lot of time has passed.
in/given time phrase PHR with cl
He would sort out his own problems, in time..., Tina believed that, given time, her business would become profitable.
46 If you are playing, singing, or dancing in time with a piece of music, you are following the rhythm and speed of the music correctly. If you are out of time with it, you are not following the rhythm and speed of the music correctly.
in/out of time phrase PHR after v, oft PHR with n
Her body swayed in time with the music..., We were standing onstage playing completely out of time.
47 If you say that something will happen, for example, in a week 's time or in two years ' time, you mean that it will happen a week from now or two years from now.
in a few etc minutes'/days'/weeks' etc time phrase PHR with cl
Presidential elections are due to be held in ten days' time...
48 If you arrive somewhere in good time, you arrive early so that there is time to spare before a particular event.
in good time phrase PHR after v, oft PHR for n
If we're out, we always make sure we're home in good time for the programme.
49 If you tell someone that something will happen in good time or all in good time, you are telling them to be patient because it will happen eventually.
(all) in good time phrase PHR after v, PHR as reply
There will be many advanced exercises that you won't be able to do at first. You will get to them in good time...
50 If something happens in no time or in next to no time, it happens almost immediately or very quickly.
in (next to) no time phrase PHR with cl
He expects to be out of prison in next to no time.
51 If you do something in your own time, you do it at the speed that you choose, rather than allowing anyone to hurry you.
in your own time phrase PHR with cl
Now, in your own time, tell me what happened.
52 If you do something such as work in your own time in British English, or on your own time in American English, you do it in your free time rather than, for example, at work or school.
in your own time phrase PHR with cl
If I choose to work on other projects in my own time, then I say that is my business.
53 If you keep time when playing or singing music, you follow or play the beat, without going too fast or too slowly.
to keep time phrase V inflects
As he sang he kept time on a small drum.
54 When you talk about how well a watch or clock keeps time, you are talking about how accurately it measures time.
to keep time phrase V inflects
Some pulsars keep time better than the earth's most accurate clocks.
55 If you make timefor a particular activity or person, you arrange to have some free time so that you can do the activity or spend time with the person.
to make time phrase V inflects, oft PHR for n, PHR to-inf
Before leaving the city, be sure to make time for a shopping trip...
56 If you say that you made good time on a journey, you mean it did not take you very long compared to the length of time you expected it to take.
to make good time phrase V inflects
They had left early in the morning, on quiet roads, and made good time.
57 If someone ismaking up for lost time, they are doing something actively and with enthusiasm because they have not had the opportunity to do it before or when they were younger.
to make up for lost time phrase V inflects
Five years older than the majority of officers of his same rank, he was determined to make up for lost time.
58 If you are marking time, you are doing something that is not particularly useful or interesting while you wait for something more important or interesting to happen.
to mark time phrase V inflects
He's really just marking time until he's old enough to leave.
59 If you say that something happens or is the case nine times out of ten or ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you mean that it happens on nearly every occasion or is almost always the case.
nine times out of ten phrase PHR with cl
When they want something, nine times out of ten they get it...
60 If you say that someone or something is, for example, the best writer of all time, or the most successful film of all time, you mean that they are the best or most successful that there has ever been.
of all time phrase n PHR, usu PHR after adj-superl
`Monopoly' is one of the best-selling games of all time...
61 If you are on time, you are not late.
on time phrase v-link PHR, PHR after v
Don't worry, she'll be on time...
62 If you say that it is only a matter of time or only a question of time before something happens, you mean that it cannot be avoided and will definitely happen at some future date.
only/just etc a question/matter of time phrase v-link PHR, oft it v-link PHR before cl
It now seems only a matter of time before they resign...
63 When you refer to our time or our times you are referring to the present period in the history of the world.
our time(s) phrase usu of/in/for PHR
It would be wrong to say that the Church doesn't enter the great moral debates of our time.
64 If you do something to pass the time you do it because you have some time available and not because you really want to do it.
to pass the time phrase V inflects
Without particular interest and just to pass the time, I read a story...
65 If you play for time, you try to make something happen more slowly, because you do not want it to happen or because you need time to think about what to do if it happens.
to play for time phrase V inflects
The president's decision is being seen as an attempt to play for time.
66 If you say that something will take time, you mean that it will take a long time.
to take time phrase V inflects, oft it PHR to-inf
Change will come, but it will take time...
67 If you take your time doing something, you do it quite slowly and do not hurry.
to take your time phrase V inflects, oft PHR -ing
`Take your time,' Cross told him. `I'm in no hurry.'
68 If a child can tell the time, they are able to find out what the time is by looking at a clock or watch.
to tell the time phrase V inflects
My four-year-old daughter cannot quite tell the time.
69 If something happens time after time, it happens in a similar way on many occasions.
time after time phrase PHR with cl, PHR after v
Burns had escaped from jail time after time...
70 If you say that time flies, you mean that it seems to pass very quickly.
time flies phrase V inflects
Time flies when you're having fun.
71 If you have the time of your life, you enjoy yourself very much indeed.
the time of your life phrase Ns inflect, PHR after v, v-link PHR
We're taking our little grandchild away with us. We'll make sure he has the time of his life...
72 If you say there is no time to lose or no time to be lost, you mean you must hurry as fast as you can to do something.
no time to lose phrase v-link PHR, PHR after v
He rushed home, realising there was no time to lose.
73 If you say that time will tell whether something is true or correct, you mean that it will not be known until some time in the future whether it is true or correct.
time will tell phrase oft PHR whether/if
Only time will tell whether Broughton's optimism is justified...
74 If you waste no timein doing something, you take the opportunity to do it immediately or quickly.
waste no time phrase V inflects, usu PHR in -ing
Tom wasted no time in telling me why he had come.
time and again
in the fullness of time