Meaning of HOUR in English

/ ˈaʊə(r); NAmE / noun

HELP NOTE : Use an , not a , before hour .


[ C ] ( abbr. hr , hr. ) 60 minutes; one of the 24 parts that a day is divided into :

It will take about an hour to get there.

The interview lasted half an hour.

It was a three-hour exam.

I waited for an hour and then I left.

He'll be back in an hour .

We're paid by the hour .

The minimum wage was set at £3.20 an hour .

Top speed is 120 miles per hour .

York was within an hour's drive.

Chicago is two hours away (= it takes two hours to get there) .

We're four hours ahead of New York (= referring to the time difference) .

We hope to be there within the hour (= in less than an hour) .


[ C , usually sing. ] a period of about an hour, used for a particular purpose :

I use the Internet at work, during my lunch hour .

—see also happy hour , rush hour


hours [ pl. ] a fixed period of time during which people work, an office is open, etc. :

Opening hours are from 10 to 6 each day.

Most people in this kind of job tend to work long hours .

What are your office hours ?

a hospital's visiting hours

Britain's licensing hours (= when pubs are allowed to open) used to be very restricted.

This is the only place to get a drink after hours (= after the normal closing time for pubs) .

Clients can now contact us by email out of hours (= when the office is closed) .


[ sing. ] a particular point in time :

You can't turn him away at this hour of the night.


hours [ pl. ] a long time :

It took hours getting there.

I've been waiting for hours .

'How long did it last?' 'Oh, hours and hours .'


[ C , usually sing. ] the time when sth important happens :

This was often thought of as the country's finest hour .

She thought her last hour had come.

Don't desert me in my hour of need .


the hour [ sing. ] the time when it is exactly 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, etc. :

There's a bus every hour on the hour .

The clock struck the hour .


hours [ pl. ] used when giving the time according to the 24-hour clock, usually in military or other official language :

The first missile was launched at 2300 hours (= at 11 p.m.) .

HELP NOTE : This is pronounced '23 hundred hours'.


- all hours

- keep ... hours

- the small / early hours

—more at eleventh , evil , kill verb , unearthly , ungodly



Middle English : from Anglo-Norman French ure , via Latin from Greek hōra season, hour.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.