Definition of time noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    see also times
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    minutes/hours/years, etc.
  1. 1[uncountable] what is measured in minutes, hours, days, etc. The changing seasons mark the passing of time. A visit to the museum will take you back in time to the 1930s. time and space As time went by we saw less and less of each other. Perceptions change over time (= as time passes). They say that time heals all wounds. see also Father Time
  2. 2 [uncountable] the time shown on a clock in minutes and hours What time is it? Do you have the time? What time do you have? The time is now ten-thirty. Can she tell time yet (= say what time it is by looking at a clock)? My watch keeps perfect time (= always shows the correct time). Look at the time! We'll be late. This time tomorrowI'll be in Canada.
  3. 3 [uncountable] the time measured in a particular part of the world Greenwich Mean Time 6 o'clock local time see also daylight saving time, standard time
  4. 4 [uncountable, countable] the time when something happens or when something should happen What time do you finish work? The baby loves bath time. time (to do something) I think it's time to go to bed. This is hardly the time to discuss politics. time (for something) It's time for lunch. time (that)… It's time the kids were in bed. By the time you get there the meeting will be over. A computer screen shows arrival and departure times. The train arrived right on time (= at exactly the correct time). You'll feel differently about it when the time comes (= when it happens). Have I called at a bad time? Should I call back later? The promotion came at just the right time for me. We carry six different beers at any one time. see also anytime, closing time, drive time, nighttime
  5. period
  6. 5 [uncountable] time (to do something) an amount of time; the amount of time available to work, rest, etc. Allow plenty of time to get to the airport. I can probably make the time to see them. It takes time to make changes in the law. We have no time to lose (= we must hurry). We got to the airport with time to spare. He spends most of his time working. She doesn't have much free/spare time. Sorry, I can't spare the time. What a waste of time! I didn't finish the test—I ran out of time. Time's up—have you figured out the answer yet? He never takes any time off (= time spent not working). Jane's worked here for some time (= for a fairly long period of time). Do it now please—not in three hours' time (= three hours from now). The journey time is two hours. I don't want to take up too much of your precious time. What's the hurry? We have all the time in the world. see also response time
  7. 6a time [singular] a period of time, either long or short, during which you do something or something happens His injuries will take a long time to heal. Did you have to wait a long time to see the doctor? I lived in Egypt for a time. The early morning is the best time of day. Her parents died a long time ago. At one time (= at a period of time in the past) Emily was my best friend. Mr. Curtis was the manager in my time (= when I was working there).
  8. 7[uncountable, plural] a period of history connected with particular events or experiences in people's lives The movie is set at the time of the Russian revolution. in ancient times the violent times we live in (= the present period of history) the politician who promised “peace in our time” Times are hard for the unemployed. Times have changed since Grandma was young. see also old-time
  9. occasion/event
  10. 8 [countable] an occasion when you do something or when something happens Every timeI hear that song I feel happy. It doesn't matter if you don't win every time (= every time you play). Next time you're here let's have lunch together. He failed his driving test three times. He's determined to pass this time. When was the last time you saw her? How many times (= how often) do I have to tell you not to do that? I remember one time (= once) we had to abandon our car in the snow. (formal) At no time didI give my consent to the plan. To talk about the first or the last time you do something, use the first/last time (that) I…:This is the first time (that) I've been to Chicago.This is the first time for me to go to Chicago.That was the last time (that) I saw her.
  11. 9[countable] an event or occasion that you experience in a particular way Did you have a good time in Spain? I had an awful time in the hospital. Mike and I shared some really good times.
  12. for race
  13. 10[countable, uncountable] how long someone takes to run a race or complete an event The winner's time was 11.6 seconds. She completed the 500 meters in record time (= faster than any previous runner). one of the fastest times ever
  14. in music
  15. 11[uncountable] the number of beats in a bar/measure of music This piece is in four-four time. a slow waltz time The conductor beat time with a baton.
  16. 12[uncountable] the correct speed and rhythm of a piece of music Try and dance in time to the music (= with the same speed and rhythm). Clap your hands to keep time (= sing or play with the correct speed and rhythm). to play in/out of time (= follow/not follow the correct speed and rhythm) He always plays in perfect time. see also big time, small-time
  17. Idioms used to say that something should have happened before now
    against time
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    if you do something against time, you do it as fast as you can because you do not have much time They're working against time to try and get people out of the rubble alive.
    ahead of/behind time
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    earlier/later than was expected We finished 15 minutes ahead of time.
    ahead of your time
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    having advanced or new ideas that other people use or copy later
      all the time,the whole time
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    1. 1during the whole of a particular period of time The letter was in my pocket all the time (= while I was looking for it).
    2. 2very often; repeatedly She leaves the lights on all the time.
    at all times
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    always Our representatives are ready to help you at all times.
    at the best of times
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    even when the circumstances are very good He's never very happy at the best of times—he'll be much worse now!
      at the same time
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    1. 1at one time; together She was laughing and crying at the same time.
    2. 2used to introduce a contrasting fact, etc. that must be considered You have to be firm, but at the same time you should try and be sympathetic.
    separately or in groups of two, three, etc. on each occasion We had to go and see the principal one at a time. She ran up the stairs two at a time.
    at my, your, his, etc. time of life
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    at the age you are (especially when you are not young) Eyesight doesn't get any better at my time of life.
    sometimes He can be really bad-tempered at times. The rain will become heavy at times in the afternoon.
      before my, your, his, etc. time
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    1. 1happening before you were born or can remember or before you lived, worked, etc. somewhere “Were you taught by Professor Pascal?” “No, he was before my time.”
    2. 2before the usual time in someone's life when something happens synonym prematurely She got old before her time.
    behind the times
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    old-fashioned in your ideas, methods, etc.
    do time(informal)
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    to spend time in prison
    whenever there is a choice I don't really like cities—give me the countryside every time.
    for the time being
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    for a short period of time but not permanently You can leave your suitcase here for the time being.
    from time to time
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    occasionally but not regularly She has to work on weekends from time to time.
    have no time for somebody/something,not have much time for somebody/something(informal)
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    to dislike someone or something I have no time for lazy people like Steve.
    have the time of your life(informal)
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    to enjoy yourself very much
    have time on your hands,have time to kill(informal)
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    to have nothing to do or not be busy
    in good time
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    early; with enough time so that you are not in a hurry
    (all) in good time(informal)
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    used to say that something will be done or will happen at the appropriate time and not before Be patient, Emily! All in good time.
    in (less than/next to) no time
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    so soon or so quickly that it is surprising The kids will be leaving home in no time.
    in your own (good) time(informal)
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    when you are ready and not sooner Don't hassle him! He'll do it in his own good time.
    after a period of time when a situation has changed synonym eventually They learned to accept their stepmother in time.
    in time (for something/to do something)
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     not late; with enough time to be able to do something Will we be in time for the six o'clock train? The ambulance got there just in time (= to save someone's life).
    it's about/high time(informal)
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    used to say that you think someone should do something soon It's time you cleaned your room!
    keep up/move with the times
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    to change and develop your ideas, way of working, etc. so that you do what is modern and what is expected
    make good, etc. time
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    to complete a journey quickly We made excellent time and arrived in Spain in two days.
    many a time,many's the time (that)…(old-fashioned)
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    many times; frequently
    (the) next, first, second, etc. time around
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    on the next, first, etc. occasion that the same thing happens He repeated none of the errors he'd made first time around. This time around it was not so easy.
    nine times out of ten,ninety-nine times out of a hundred
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    used to say that something is usually true or almost always happens Nine times out of ten she gives the right answer.
    not give somebody the time of day
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    to refuse to speak to someone because you do not like or respect them Since the success of her novel, people shake her hand who once wouldn't have given her the time of day.
    (there is) no time like the present(saying)
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    now is the best time to do something, not in the future
    of all time
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    that has ever existed Many rated him the best singer of all time. see also all-time
    on your own time
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    in your free time and not when you usually work or study
      take your time,take your time to do something/doing something
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    1. 1to use as much time as you need without hurrying There's no rush—take your time.
    2. 2used to say you think someone is late or is too slow in doing something You certainly took your time getting here!
    take time out
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    to spend some time away from your usual work or activity in order to rest or do something else instead She is taking time out from her music career for a year. Thesaurusrestbreak respite time out breathing roomThese are all words for a short period of time spent a period of relaxing, sleeping, or doing nothing after a period of activity:We stopped for a well-deserved rest.break a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest or eat:Let's take a break.respite a short break from something difficult or unpleasant:The medicine brought a brief respite from the pain.time out (informal) time for resting or relaxing away from your usual work or studies:Let's take (some) time out to gather our thoughts.breathing room a short rest in the middle of a busy period:I've got very little breathing room in my afternoon schedule.Patterns (a) rest/break/respite/time out from something to have/take (a) rest/break/time out to give somebody (a) rest/break/respite/breathing room
    time after time,time and (time) again
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    often; on many or all occasions You will get a perfect result time after time if you follow these instructions.
    time and a half
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    one and a half times the usual rate of pay We get time and a half on Sundays. see also double time
    time flies(saying)
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    time seems to pass very quickly How time flies! I have to go now. Time has flown since the vacation began. This phrase is a translation of the Latin “tempus fugit.”
    time is money(saying)
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    time is valuable, and should not be wasted
    time is on your side
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    used to say that someone can wait for something to happen or can wait before doing something
    time was (when)…(old-fashioned)
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    used to say that something used to happen in the past Time was when you could go for a walk in the country and not see another person for miles.
    (only) time will tell(saying)
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    used to say that you will have to wait for some time to find out the result of a situation Only time will tell if the treatment has been successful.
    the whole time
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    = all the time
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: time