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 →
access time ( access times plural ) Access time is the time that is needed to get information that is stored in a computer. (COMPUTING) n-count
This system helps speed up access times.
air time , airtime
The airtime that something gets is the amount of time taken up with broadcasts about it. n-uncount
Even the best women's teams get little air time...
You use all-time when you are comparing all the things of a particular type that there have ever been. For example, if you say that something is the all-time best, you mean that it is the best thing of its type that there has ever been. adj ADJ n
The president's popularity nationally is at an all-time low..., Duane Eddy is John Peel's all-time favourite artist.
big time , big-time
1 adj You can use big time to refer to the highest level of an activity or sport where you can achieve the greatest amount of success or importance. If you describe a person as big time, you mean they are successful and important.
INFORMAL usu ADJ n
He took a long time to settle in to big-time football., ...a big-time investment banker.
2 n-sing If someone hits the big time, they become famous or successful in a particular area of activity.
INFORMAL the N
He hit the big time with films such as Ghost and Dirty Dancing.
3 adv You can use big time if you want to emphasize the importance or extent of something that has happened.
INFORMAL ADV after v (emphasis)
They screwed things up big time..., America lost big-time.
breakfast time , breakfast-time
Breakfast time is the period of the morning when most people have their breakfast. n-uncount oft prep N
By breakfast-time he was already at his desk.
British Summer Time
British Summer Time is a period in the spring and summer during which the clocks are put forward, so that people can have an extra hour of daylight in the evening.
When we put the clocks forward in March we go into British Summer Time.
in AM, use daylight saving time
closing time ( closing times plural ) Closing time is the time when something such as a shop, library, or pub closes and people have to leave. n-var
We were in the pub until closing time.
Daylight Saving Time , daylight saving time
Daylight Saving Time is a period of time in the summer when the clocks are set one hour forward, so that people can have extra light in the evening.
in BRIT, use British Summer Time
If a game of football, hockey, or basketball goes into extra time, the game continues for a set period after it would usually have ended because both teams have the same score.
Cambridge won 2-0 after extra time.
in AM, use overtime
full-time , full time
1 adj Full-time work or study involves working or studying for the whole of each normal working week rather than for part of it.
usu ADJ n (Antonym: part-time)
...a full-time job., ...full-time staff.
Full-time is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
Deirdre works full-time.
2 n-uncount In games such as football, full-time is the end of a match.
The score at full-time was Arsenal 1, Sampdoria 1.
Greenwich Mean Time
Half-time is the short period of time between the two parts of a sporting event such as a football, rugby, or basketball game, when the players have a short rest. n-uncount
Injury time is the period of time added to the end of a football game because play was stopped during the match when players were injured.
(mainly BRIT) n-uncount
lead time ( lead times plural )
1 n-count Lead time is the time between the original design or idea for a particular product and its actual production. (BUSINESS)
They aim to cut production lead times to under 18 months.
2 n-count Lead time is the period of time that it takes for goods to be delivered after someone has ordered them. (BUSINESS)
Lead times on new equipment orders can run as long as three years.
Local time is the official time in a particular region or country. n-uncount
It was around 10.15 pm local time, 3.15 am at home.
You use long-time to describe something that has existed or been a particular thing for a long time. adj ADJ n
She married her long-time boyfriend.
night-time , night time
Night-time is the period of time between when it gets dark and when the sun rises. n-uncount oft N n
(=night) (Antonym: daytime)
They wanted someone responsible to look after the place at night-time..., A twelve hour night time curfew is in force.
If you describe something as old-time, you mean that it was common or popular in the past but is not common or popular now. adj ADJ n
...an old-time dance hall which still has a tea dance on Monday afternoons.
one-time , onetime
One-time is used to describe something such as a job, position, or role which someone used to have, or something which happened in the past. (JOURNALISM) adj ADJ n
The legislative body had voted to oust the country's onetime rulers.
opening time ( opening times plural )
1 n-uncount You can refer to the time that a shop, bank, library, or bar opens for business as its opening time.
also the N
Shoppers began arriving long before the 10am opening time.
2 n-plural The opening times of a place such as a shop, a restaurant, or a museum is the period during which it is open.
Ask the local tourist office about opening times.
The adverb is also spelled part time.
If someone is a part-time worker or has a part-time job, they work for only part of each day or week. adj
Many businesses are cutting back by employing lower-paid part-time workers..., I'm part-time. I work three days a week.
Part-time is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
I want to work part-time.
Programmes which are broadcast at peak time are broadcast when the greatest number of people are watching television or listening to the radio.
(mainly BRIT) n-uncount oft at/in N, N n
The news programme goes out four times a week at peak time.
in AM, usually use prime time
prime time , primetime
Prime time television or radio programmes are broadcast when the greatest number of people are watching television or listening to the radio, usually in the evenings. n-uncount usu N n
...a prime-time television show., ...prime time viewing in mid-evening.
If people spend quality time together, they spend a period of time relaxing or doing things that they both enjoy, and not worrying about work or other responsibilities. n-uncount
If something is done inreal time, there is no noticeable delay between the action and its effect or consequence. n-uncount oft in N
...umpires, who have to make every decision in real time.
Real-time processing is a type of computer programming or data processing in which the information received is processed by the computer almost immediately. (COMPUTING) adj ADJ n
...real-time language translations.
response time ( response times plural ) Response time is the time taken for a computer to do something after you have given an instruction. (COMPUTING) n-count
The only flaw is the slightly slow response times when you press the buttons.
running time ( running times plural ) The running time of something such as a film, video, or CD is the time it takes to play from start to finish. n-count
run time ( run times plural ) Run time is the time during which a computer program is running. (COMPUTING) n-count
If you refer to workers or businesses as small-time, you think they are not very important because their work is limited in extent or not very successful. adj
...small time drug dealers.
Your spare time is the time during which you do not have to work and you can do whatever you like. n-uncount usu poss N
In her spare time she read books on cooking...
Standard time is the official local time of a region or country. n-uncount usu supp N
French standard time is GMT plus 1 hr.
summer time , summertime
1 n-uncount Summer time is the period of time during which the summer lasts.
also the N
It's a very beautiful place in the summertime.
time and motion
A time and motion study is a study of the way that people do a particular job, or the way they work in a particular place in order to discover the most efficient methods of working. n-uncount usu N n
time bomb ( time bombs plural ) , time-bomb
1 n-count A time bomb is a bomb with a mechanism that causes it to explode at a particular time.
2 n-count If you describe something as a time bomb, you mean that it is likely to have a serious effect on a person or situation at a later date, especially if you think it will cause a lot of damage.
oft adj N
This proposal is a political time bomb that could cost the government the next election...
time-consuming , time consuming
If something is time-consuming, it takes a lot of time. adj oft it v-link ADJ to-inf
It's just very time consuming to get such a large quantity of data...
time frame ( time frames plural ) The time frame of an event is the length of time during which it happens or develops.
The time frame within which all this occurred was from September 1985 to March 1986...
A time-honoured tradition or way of doing something is one that has been used and respected for a very long time. adj ADJ n
The beer is brewed in the time-honoured way at the Castle Eden Brewery.
time lag ( time lags plural ) , time-lag A time lag is a fairly long interval of time between one event and another related event that happens after it. n-count usu sing, oft N between pl-n
...the time-lag between theoretical research and practical applications.
time limit ( time limits plural ) A time limit is a date before which a particular task must be completed. n-count
We have extended the time limit for claims until July 30.
time out ( time outs plural ) , time-out
1 n-var In basketball, American football, ice hockey, and some other sports, when a team calls a time out, they call a stop to the game for a few minutes in order to rest and discuss how they are going to play.
2 n-uncount If you take time outfrom a job or activity, you have a break from it and do something different instead.
oft N from n, N to-inf
He took time out from campaigning to accompany his mother to dinner.
time-server ( time-servers plural ) , timeserver If you refer to someone as a time-server, you disapprove of them because they are making very little effort at work and are just waiting until they retire or leave for a new job. n-count
time-share ( time-shares plural ) , time share If you have a time-share, you have the right to use a particular property as holiday accommodation for a specific amount of time each year. n-var
time signal ( time signals plural ) The time signal is the series of high-pitched sounds that are broadcast at certain times on the radio, for example at exactly one o'clock or exactly six o'clock.
(BRIT) n-count usu the N in sing
time signature ( time signatures plural ) The time signature of a piece of music consists of two numbers written at the beginning that show how many beats there are in each bar. n-count
time slot ( time slots plural ) A television or radio programme's time slot is the time when it is broadcast. n-count
90 per cent of listeners had stayed with the programme when it changed its time slot.
time switch ( time switches plural ) A time switch is a device that causes a machine to start or stop working at specific times. n-count
time trial ( time trials plural ) In cycling and some other sports, a time trial is a contest in which competitors race along a course individually, in as fast a time as possible, instead of racing directly against each other. n-count
time waster ( time wasters plural ) , time-waster If you say that someone or something is a time waster, you mean that they cause you to spend a lot of time doing something that is unnecessary or does not produce any benefit. n-count
Surfing the Internet is fun, but it's also a time waster.
time-worn , timeworn
Something that is time-worn is old or has been used a lot over a long period of time. adj
Even in the dim light the equipment looked old and time-worn...
time zone ( time zones plural ) , time-zone A time zone is one of the areas into which the world is divided where the time is calculated as being a particular number of hours behind or ahead of GMT. n-count