n. & v.
1. the indefinite continued progress of existence, events, etc., in past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
2 a the progress of this as affecting persons or things (stood the test of time). b (Time) (in full Father Time) the personification of time, esp. as an old man with a scythe and hourglass.
3 a more or less definite portion of time belonging to particular events or circumstances (the time of the Plague; prehistoric times; the scientists of the time).
4 an allotted, available, or measurable portion of time; the period of time at one's disposal (am wasting my time; had no time to visit; how much time do you need?).
5 a point of time esp. in hours and minutes (the time is 7.30; what time is it?).
6 (prec. by a) an indefinite period (waited for a time).
7 time or an amount of time as reckoned by a conventional standard (the time allowed is one hour; ran the mile in record time; eight o'clock New York time).
8 a an occasion (last time I saw you). b an event or occasion qualified in some way (had a good time).
9 a moment or definite portion of time destined or suitable for a purpose etc. (now is the time to act; shall we fix a time?).
10 (in pl.) expressing multiplication (is four times as old; five times six is thirty).
11 a lifetime (will last my time).
12 (in sing. or pl.) a the conditions of life or of a period (hard times; times have changed). b (prec. by the) the present age, or that being considered.
13 colloq. a prison sentence (is doing time).
14 an apprenticeship (served his time).
15 a period of gestation.
16 the date or expected date of childbirth (is near her time) or of death (my time is drawing near).
17 measured time spent in work (put them on short time).
18 a any of several rhythmic patterns of music (in waltz time). b the duration of a note as indicated by a crotchet, minim, etc.
19 Brit. the moment at which the opening hours of a public house end.
1. choose the time or occasion for (time your remarks carefully).
2 do at a chosen or correct time.
3 arrange the time of arrival of.
4 ascertain the time taken by (a process or activity, or a person doing it).
5 regulate the duration or interval of; set times for (trains are timed to arrive every hour).
Phrases and idioms:
against time with utmost speed, so as to finish by a specified time (working against time). ahead of time earlier than expected. ahead of one's time having ideas too enlightened or advanced to be accepted by one's contemporaries. all the time
1. during the whole of the time referred to (often despite some contrary expectation etc.) (we never noticed, but he was there all the time).
2 constantly (nags all the time).
3 at all times (leaves a light on all the time).
at one time
1. in or during a known but unspecified past period.
2 simultaneously (ran three businesses at one time).
at the same time
1. simultaneously; at a time that is the same for all.
2 nevertheless (at the same time, I do not want to offend you). at a time separately in the specified groups or numbers (came three at a time). at times occasionally, intermittently. before time (usu. prec. by not) before the due or expected time. before one's time prematurely (old before his time). for the time being for the present; until some other arrangement is made. half the time colloq. as often as not.
have no time for
1. be unable or unwilling to spend time on.
have the time
1. be able to spend the time needed.
2 know from a watch etc. what time it is. have a time of it undergo trouble or difficulty.
in no (or less than no) time
1. very soon.
2 very quickly. in one's own good time at a time and a rate decided by oneself. in one's own time outside working hours.
1. not late, punctual (was in time to catch the bus).
2 eventually (in time you may agree).
3 in accordance with a given rhythm or tempo, esp. of music. in one's time at or during some previous period of one's life (in his time he was a great hurdler).
keep good (or bad) time
1. (of a clock etc.) record time accurately (or inaccurately).
2 be habitually punctual (or not punctual). keep time move or sing etc. in time. know the time of day be well informed. lose no time (often foll. by in + verbal noun) act immediately (lost no time in cashing the cheque). not before time not too soon; timely. no time colloq. a very short interval (it was no time before they came). out of time unseasonable; unseasonably. pass the time of day colloq. exchange a greeting or casual remarks.
time after time
1. repeatedly, on many occasions.
2 in many instances. time and (or time and time) again on many occasions. time and a half a rate of payment for work at one and a half times the normal rate. time-and-motion (usu. attrib.) concerned with measuring the efficiency of industrial and other operations. time bomb a bomb designed to explode at a pre-set time. time capsule a box etc. containing objects typical of the present time, buried for discovery in the future.
1. a clock with a device for recording workers' hours of work.
2 a switch mechanism activated at pre-set times by a built-in clock. time-consuming using much or too much time. time exposure the exposure of photographic film for longer than the maximum normal shutter setting. time factor the passage of time as a limitation on what can be achieved. time-fuse a fuse calculated to burn for or explode at a given time. time-honoured esteemed by tradition or through custom. time immemorial (or out of mind) a longer time than anyone can remember or trace. time-lag an interval of time between an event, a cause, etc. and its effect. time-lapse (of photography) using frames taken at long intervals to photograph a slow process, and shown continuously as if at normal speed. time-limit the limit of time within which a task must be done. the time of day the hour by the clock. time off time for rest or recreation etc. the time of one's life a period or occasion of exceptional enjoyment. time out esp.
1. a brief intermission in a game etc.
2 time off. time-scale the time allowed for or taken by a sequence of events in relation to a broader period of time. time-served having completed a period of apprenticeship or training. time-server a person who changes his or her view to suit the prevailing circumstances, fashion, etc. time-share a share in a property under a time-sharing scheme.
1. the operation of a computer system by several users for different operations at one time.
2 the use of a holiday home at agreed different times by several joint owners. time sheet a sheet of paper for recording hours of work etc. time signal an audible (esp. broadcast) signal or announcement of the exact time of day. time signature Mus. an indication of tempo following a clef, expressed as a fraction with the numerator giving the number of beats in each bar and the denominator giving the duration of each beat. time switch a switch acting automatically at a pre-set time. time warp an imaginary distortion of space in relation to time, whereby persons or objects of one age can be moved to another. time was there was a time (time was when I could do that). time-work work paid for by the time it takes. time-worn impaired by age. time zone a range of longitudes where a common standard time is used .
Etymology: OE tima f. Gmc