• Time


    • RP enPR: tÄ«m, IPA: /taɪm/
    • AusE IPA: /tÉ‘em/
    • Tasmanian IPA: /tɜːm/
    • Rhymes: -aɪm
    • Homophones: thyme

    Alternative forms


    From Middle English time, tyme, from Old English tīma ("time, period, space of time, season, lifetime, fixed time, favorable time, opportunity"), from Proto-Germanic *tīmô ("time"), from Proto-Indo-European *dī- ("time"). Cognate with Scots tym, tyme ("time"), Alemannic German Zimen, Zīmmän ("time, time of the year, opportune time, opportunity"), Danish time ("stound, hour, lesson"), Swedish timme ("stound, hour"), Norwegian time ("time, stound, hour"), Faroese tími ("hour, lesson, time"), Icelandic tími ("time, season"). See also tide.

    Full definition of time


    1. (tennis) Reminder by the umpire for the players to continue playing after their pause.



    (countable and uncountable; plural times)
    1. (uncountable) The inevitable progression into the future with the passing of present events into the past.
      Time stops for nobody.   the ebb and flow of time
    2. A duration of time.
      1. (uncountable) A quantity of availability of duration.
        More time is needed to complete the project.   You had plenty of time, but you waited until the last minute.   Are you finished yet? Time’s up!
      2. (countable) A measurement of a quantity of time; a numerical or general indication of a length of progression.
        a long time;  Record the individual times for the processes in each batch.   Only your best time is compared with the other competitors.   The algorithm runs in O(n2) time.
        • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 1, I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
        • 1938, Richard Hughes, In HazardThe shock of the water, of course, woke him, and he swam for quite a time.
      3. (uncountable, slang) The serving of a prison sentence.
        The judge leniently granted a sentence with no hard time.   He is not living at home because he is doing time.
      4. (countable) An experience.
        We had a wonderful time at the party.
        • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity, I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
      5. (countable) An era; (with the, sometimes in plural) the current era, the current state of affairs.
        Roman times;  the time of the dinosaurs
        • unknown date Cicero, First Oration against Catiline (translation)O the times, O the customs!
        • 1601, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of DenmarkThe time is out of joint
      6. (uncountable, with possessive) A person's youth or young adulthood, as opposed to the present day.
        In my time, we respected our elders.
      7. (only in singular, sports and figuratively) Time out; temporary, limited suspension of play.
      8. An instant of time.
        1. (uncountable) How much of a day has passed; the moment, as indicated by a clock or similar device.
          Excuse me, have you got the time?   What time is it, do you guess? Ten o’clock?   A computer keeps time using a clock battery.
          • 2013-07-19, Ian Sample, Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains, Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
        2. (countable) A particular moment or hour; the appropriate moment or hour for something (especially with prepositional phrase or imperfect subjunctive).
          it’s time for bed;  it’s time to sleep;  we must wait for the right time;  it's time we were going
          • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 8, The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; for, even after she had conquered her love for the Celebrity, the mortification of having been jilted by him remained.
          • 2013-06-07, Joseph Stiglitz, Globalisation is about taxes too, It is time the international community faced the reality: we have an unmanageable, unfair, distortionary global tax regime. It is a tax system that is pivotal in creating the increasing inequality that marks most advanced countries today – with America standing out in the forefront and the UK not far behind.
        3. (countable) A numerical indication of a particular moment.
          at what times do the trains arrive?;  these times were erroneously converted between zones
        4. (countable) An instance or occurrence.
          When was the last time we went out? I don’t remember.
          see you another time;  that’s three times he’s made the same mistake
          Okay, but this is the last time. No more after that!
          • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 2, Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.
        5. (UK, of pubs) Closing time.
          Last call: it's almost time.
        6. The hour of childbirth.
      9. (countable) The measurement under some system of region of day or moment.
        Let's synchronize our watches so we're not on different time.
      10. (countable) Ratio of comparison.
        your car runs three times faster than mine;  that is four times as heavy as this
      11. (grammar, dated) Tense.
        the time of a verb
      12. (music) The measured duration of sounds; measure; tempo; rate of movement; rhythmical division.
        common or triple time;   the musician keeps good time.

    Usage notes

    For the number of occurrences and the ratio of comparison, once and twice are used instead of one time and two times. Thrice is uncommon but not obsolescent.

    Derived terms

    proper nouns derived from "time"
    nouns derived from "time"