Meaning of TIME in English


transcription, транскрипция: [ taɪm ]

( times, timing, timed)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.


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.



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?’—‘Eight o’clock.’...

He asked me the time...

What time did he leave?...

The time is now 19 minutes past the hour.

N-SING : wh / the N


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.


see also opening time


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.

N-UNCOUNT : supp N


You use time to refer to the period that you spend doing something or when something has been happening.

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...

N-UNCOUNT : also a N


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.

N-SING : a N


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.

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...

N-COUNT : with supp , oft prep N


You use time or times to talk about a particular period in history or in your life.

We’ll be alone together, quite like old times...

We are in one of the most severe recessions in modern times...

N-COUNT : with supp , usu adj N , N of n


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.

N-PLURAL : the N


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...

N-COUNT : adj N


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...

N-SING : poss N


If you say it is time for something, time to do something, or time you did something, you mean that this thing ought to happen or be done now.

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...

N-UNCOUNT : oft N for n , N to-inf , N that


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...

N-COUNT : with supp


You use time after numbers to say how often something happens.

It was her job to make tea three times a day...

N-COUNT : usu num / ord N


You use times after numbers when comparing one thing to another and saying, for example, how much bigger, smaller, better, or worse it is.

Its profits are rising four times faster than the average company... area five times the size of Britain.

N-PLURAL : num N compar , num N as adj / adv , num N n


You use times in arithmetic to link numbers or amounts that are multiplied together to reach a total.

Four times six is 24.



Someone’s time in a race is the amount of time it takes them to finish the race.

He was over a second faster than his previous best time...

N-COUNT : with supp , oft poss N , N of n


The time of a piece of music is the number of beats that the piece has in each bar.

A reel is in four-four time, and a jig is in six-eight time.

N-UNCOUNT : usu supp N , oft in N


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...

We had timed our visit for March 7...

He had timed his intervention well...

Operation Amazon is timed to coincide with the start of the dry season.

VERB : V n to-inf , V n for n , V n adv , V-ed , also V n


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.

VERB : V n


see also timing


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.

It’s about time a few movie makers with original ideas were given a chance...

PHRASE : it v-link PHR that , PHR as reply [ emphasis ]


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.

Find out ahead of time what regulations apply to your situation.

PHRASE : PHR after v


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.

My mother was ahead of her time. She surrounded me with culture and art.

PHRASE : v-link PHR , oft PHR in -ing


If something happens or is done all the time , it happens or is done continually.

We can’t be together all the time...

= continually

PHRASE : PHR after v


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.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time...

PHRASE : amount PHR


If something could happen at any time , it is possible that it will happen very soon, though nobody can predict exactly when.

Conditions are still very tense and the fighting could escalate at any time.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


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.

A trade war would be bad at the best of times, but in the current economic climate, it would be a disaster.

PHRASE : PHR with cl [ emphasis ]


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 400 men, women and children lived in the village.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


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.

I was afraid of her, but at the same time I really liked her...

PHRASE : PHR with cl


At the same time is used to introduce a statement that slightly changes or contradicts the previous statement.

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.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


You use at times to say that something happens or is true on some occasions or at some moments.

The debate was highly emotional at times...

PHRASE : PHR with cl / group


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.

‘You’ve never seen the Marilyn Monroe film?’—‘No, I think it was a bit before my time.’

PHRASE : usu v-link PHR


If someone has reached a particular stage in life before their time , they have reached it at a younger age than is normal.

The small print has forced me, years before my time, to buy spectacles...

PHRASE : PHR after v


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. ( BRIT )

The virus is getting more and more attention, and not before time...

PHRASE : PHR with cl [ emphasis ]


If you call time on something, you end it. ( mainly BRIT JOURNALISM )

Scott Hastings has called time on his international career by cutting short his contract.

PHRASE : V inflects


Someone who is doing time is in prison. ( INFORMAL )

He is serving 11 years for robbery, and did time for a similar offence before that.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you say that something will be the case for all time , you mean that it will always be the case.

The desperate condition of the world is that madness has always been here, and that it will remain so for all time.

PHRASE : usu PHR with v , PHR with group


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, however, immunotherapy is still in its experimental stages...

PHRASE : PHR with cl


If you do something from time to time , you do it occasionally but not regularly.

Her daughters visited him from time to time when he was ill.

PHRASE : PHR with v , PHR with cl


If you say that something is the case half the time you mean that it often is the case. ( INFORMAL )

Half the time, I don’t have the slightest idea what he’s talking about.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


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.

When I think of what he’s done to my mother and me, I’ve just got no time for him...

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR n


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 the Government displayed a more humanitarian approach towards victims of the recession...

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR that , PHR to-inf [ emphasis ]


If you are in time for a particular event, you are not too late for it.

I arrived just in time for my flight to London...

PHRASE : PHR after v , oft PHR for n , PHR to-inf


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.

He would sort out his own problems, in time...

Tina believed that, given time, her business would become profitable.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


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.

Her body swayed in time with the music...

We were standing onstage playing completely out of time.

PHRASE : PHR after v , oft PHR with n


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.

Presidential elections are due to be held in ten days’ time...

PHRASE : PHR with cl


If you arrive somewhere in good time , you arrive early so that there is time to spare before a particular event.

If we’re out, we always make sure we’re home in good time for the programme.

PHRASE : PHR after v , oft PHR for n


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.

There will be many advanced exercises that you won’t be able to do at first. You will get to them in good time...

PHRASE : PHR after v , PHR as reply


If something happens in no time or in next to no time , it happens almost immediately or very quickly.

He expects to be out of prison in next to no time.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


If you do something in your own time , you do it at the speed that you choose, rather than allowing anyone to hurry you.

Now, in your own time, tell me what happened.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


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.

If I choose to work on other projects in my own time, then I say that is my business.

PHRASE : PHR with cl


If you keep time when playing or singing music, you follow or play the beat, without going too fast or too slowly.

As he sang he kept time on a small drum.

PHRASE : V inflects


When you talk about how well a watch or clock keeps time , you are talking about how accurately it measures time.

Some pulsars keep time better than the earth’s most accurate clocks.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you make time for 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.

Before leaving the city, be sure to make time for a shopping trip...

PHRASE : V inflects , oft PHR for n , PHR to-inf


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.

They had left early in the morning, on quiet roads, and made good time.

PHRASE : V inflects


If someone is making 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.

Five years older than the majority of officers of his same rank, he was determined to make up for lost time.

PHRASE : V inflects


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.

He’s really just marking time until he’s old enough to leave.

PHRASE : V inflects


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.

When they want something, nine times out of ten they get it...

PHRASE : PHR with cl


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.

‘Monopoly’ is one of the best-selling games of all time...

PHRASE : n PHR , usu PHR after adj-superl


If you are on time , you are not late.

Don’t worry, she’ll be on time...

PHRASE : v-link PHR , PHR after v


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.

It now seems only a matter of time before they resign...

PHRASE : v-link PHR , oft it v-link PHR before cl


When you refer to our time or our times you are referring to the present period in the history of the world.

It would be wrong to say that the Church doesn’t enter the great moral debates of our time.

PHRASE : usu of/in/for PHR


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.

Without particular interest and just to pass the time, I read a story...

PHRASE : V inflects


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.

The president’s decision is being seen as an attempt to play for time.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you say that something will take time , you mean that it will take a long time.

Change will come, but it will take time...

PHRASE : V inflects , oft it PHR to-inf


If you take your time doing something, you do it quite slowly and do not hurry.

‘Take your time,’ Cross told him. ‘I’m in no hurry.’

PHRASE : V inflects , oft PHR -ing


If a child can tell the time , they are able to find out what the time is by looking at a clock or watch.

My four-year-old daughter cannot quite tell the time.

PHRASE : V inflects


If something happens time after time , it happens in a similar way on many occasions.

Burns had escaped from jail time after time...

= repeatedly

PHRASE : PHR with cl , PHR after v


If you say that time flies , you mean that it seems to pass very quickly.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you have the time of your life , you enjoy yourself very much indeed.

We’re taking our little grandchild away with us. We’ll make sure he has the time of his life...

PHRASE : Ns inflect , PHR after v , v-link PHR


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.

He rushed home, realising there was no time to lose.

PHRASE : v-link PHR , PHR after v


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.

Only time will tell whether Broughton’s optimism is justified...

PHRASE : oft PHR whether/if


If you waste no time in doing something, you take the opportunity to do it immediately or quickly.

Tom wasted no time in telling me why he had come.

PHRASE : V inflects , usu PHR in -ing


time and again: see again

in the fullness of time: see fullness

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.