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English definition of “time”

time

noun uk   /taɪm/ us  

time noun (MINUTES/DAYS/YEARS)

A2 [U] the part of existence that is measured in minutes, days, years, etc., or this process considered as a whole: He wants to spend more time with his family. Time passes so quickly when you're enjoying yourself. She grew more and more fascinated by the subject as time went on/by. The curtains have faded over/with time (= as years have gone past). You'll forget her in time (= in the future). Over the course of time (= as years have gone past), holes have formed in the rock. When Paula was ill, I took her some magazines to help her pass the time. If you'd taken more time with/over (= spent more time doing) this essay, you could have done it much better. It takes a long time (= many hours are needed) to get from London to Sydney. We'd save time on our journey (= it would be quicker) if we went by train. I only worked there for a short period of time. The kitchen clock is gaining/losing time (= is going fast/slow). My watch has never kept very good time (= been correct). all the time A2 continuously: I wish you'd stop criticizing me all the time. in no time C1 (also in next to no time) very quickly or very soon: The children ate their dinner in no time. We'll be home in next to no time. no time to lose If you say there is or that you have no time to lose, it means that you must do quickly whatever it is that you want to do: Come on, there's no time to lose, we must get home before John finds out. for all time literary always: I will love you for all time. of all time that has ever lived or existed: She's been called the greatest singer of all time.

time noun (SYSTEM)

C1 [U] the system of recording hours used in different parts of the world: Greenwich Mean Time daylight saving time

time noun (TIME AVAILABLE)

an amount of time that you have available to do something: I don't know how you find time to do all the things you do. I thought we'd give her a bit more time (= allow her more time) to get the job done. I'd like to visit them all but time is short (= there is little time left). have time B1 If you have time, you have enough time to do something: We don't have much time before the train leaves. Do you have time for a quick drink after work? I'd like to learn to sail, but I haven't the time (= I am too busy). [+ to infinitive] I don't have time to go to the shops today. waste time A2 to not make good use of the hours, etc. that you have available: If you'd got on with your work instead of wasting time chatting, you'd be finished by now. run out of time B1 to not have enough hours, etc. available to finish something you are trying to do: She ran out of time and didn't finish the last question. be (all) out of time to not have enough minutes, etc. available: I'd like to continue this discussion but we're all out of time. time's up informal there are no more minutes, hours, etc. available: OK, everyone, time's up for this week. time added on a period of time added to the end of a football match because play was stopped during the game, usually to take care of players who were hurt : His goal in the third minute of time added on sealed the match.

time noun (PERIOD)

A2 [S or U] a particular period of time for which something has been happening, or that is needed for something: I enjoyed my course at first, but after a time I got bored with it. They stayed with us for a short time. That was the best restaurant I've been to for/in a long time (= a long period has gone past since I went to such a good restaurant). It was some time ago that I last heard from her. We're going on holiday in two weeks' time (= after two weeks have passed). During her time (= while she was) in office, the prime minister introduced a large number of changes. What do you like doing in your spare/free time (= when you are not working)? have/take time off to stop work, in order to do something else: I asked my boss if I could have some time off (from work) to go to the dentist. for a time for a short period: For a time, we all thought that Sheila and Frank would get married. for some time B2 for a fairly long period of time: I've been doing yoga for some time. for the time being C1 for a limited period: Leave the ironing for the time being - I'll do it later.

time noun (PARTICULAR POINT)

A1 [C or S or U] a particular point in the day, as expressed in hours and minutes or shown on a clock, or a particular point in time: "What's the time?" "It's ten o'clock." What time is it? What time do you finish work? Have you got the time? (= Do you know what time it is?) He's teaching his daughter to tell the time (= to recognize what time it is by looking at a clock). Did you find out the times of the trains to London? The estimated time of arrival/departure of this flight is 11.15. Oh dear, is that the (right) time? (= is it really so late?) We always have dinner at the same time every day. I was exhausted by the time (= when) I got home. When would be a good time for me to call you? "What would be the best time of day for us to deliver the table?" "Oh, any time will be OK." Today's temperatures will be normal for the time of year (= will be as they are expected to be in this season). Just think, this time (= at the same particular point during) next week we'll be in Mauritius. We regret that at the present time (US also at this time) we are unable to supply the goods you ordered. The time is fast drawing near/approaching (= it will soon be the time) when we'll have to make a decision. at the time A2 at the particular point when something was thought of or done: It seemed like a good idea at the time. at the same time B1 If two things happen at the same time, they happen together: We arrived at the same time. at your time of life at a person's present age: At his time of life, he ought to be taking things easy.

time noun (SUITABLE POINT)

B1 [S or U] a particular point of the day, year, etc. that is suitable for a particular activity, or at which something is expected to happen: holiday time party time Put your toys away now - it's time for bed. It's time (that) I was leaving. [+ to infinitive] Is it time to go home yet? This is not the time (= not a suitable moment) to be thinking about buying a house. This is no time (= not a suitable moment) to change your mind. I feel that the time has come (= now is a suitable moment) for me to move on. The repairs to the road were finished two weeks ahead of time (= sooner than was expected). Why is it that the trains never run on time (= make their journeys in the expected number of hours, etc.)? She's grown old before her time (= sooner than she might have been expected to have done). in time B1 early enough: I got home just in time - it's starting to rain. If we don't hurry up, we won't be in time to catch the train. We arrived in good time (= we arrived early) for the start of the match. (bang/dead/right) on time informal happening or done at the particular moment that it was expected to happen or be done: The bus arrived dead on time. ahead of time mainly US earlier than a particular moment: Let's meet for lunch. I'll call you ahead of time to fix up exactly when and where. about time C1 (also high time) informal If it is about time/high time that someone did something, it should have been done sooner or a long time ago: It's about time (that) the school improved its meals service. It is high time for the critics to open their minds to a new approach. about time (too) (also not before time) informal said when someone does something or something happens that you think should have been done or have happened much sooner: "So Ben's finally found a job." "Yes, and about time too."

time noun (OCCASION)

A2 [C] an occasion when something happens, or the experience connected with it: The last time we went to Paris, it rained every day. Every time/Each time I ask you to do something you say you're busy. They go swimming three or four times a week. There are times when I wish I didn't live where I do. The four-times (US four-time) champion (= the champion on four occasions in the past) was defeated in the second round. If I'd known at the time (= then) that she was his former wife, I'd never have said what I did. Sometimes I enjoy my English lessons, but at other times I find them really boring. For the umpteenth/hundredth/thousandth time, (= I've told you on many occasions to) stop hitting your sister. Did you have a bad/good time (= an unpleasant/enjoyable experience) at the conference? She had an easy/hard time of it (= a comfortable/uncomfortable experience) with the birth of her second baby. from time to time B2 sometimes, but not often: From time to time I still think of her. time after time C2 again and again: Time after time she gets involved in relationships with unsuitable men. time and (time) again very often: I've told you time and time again - look before you cross the road. at all times continuously: When you're at the airport, you should make sure you have your luggage with you at all times. at (any) one time (also at a time, also at any given time) at or during any particular point or moment in the day: Only a certain number of people are allowed in the building at any one time. I'm sorry, but I'm too busy to help you now - I can only do one thing at a time. at times C1 sometimes: You can be really annoying at times, you know. at any time ever: Parking is not allowed here at any time. the times UK on many occasions: The times I've told you, ask before you borrow my clothes.

time noun (HISTORICAL PERIOD)

B2 [C] (also times) a period in history: "A Tale of Two Cities" is set at the time of the French Revolution. In/During medieval times, women thought to be witches were burned at the stake. In times gone by, all crops were harvested by hand. Times were hard (= living conditions were not good) when I was a boy. He is widely regarded as one of the best writers of modern/our times (= the present or very recent past). I never thought it would happen in my time (= before I died). We sat and talked about old times (= things that had happened to us in the past.) at one time C2 in the past: At one time, George Eliot lived here. ahead of your time (UK also before your time) having new ideas, opinions, or ways of living long before most other people do before sb''s time If something is before your time, it happened or existed before you were born or were old enough to remember it: I don't remember the Beatles - they were before my time.
See also
time was said to mean that there was a period in the past when something used to happen or be true: Time was (when) you could buy a loaf of bread for sixpence.

time noun (RACE)

[C or U] Your time in a race is the number of minutes, hours, etc. you take to complete it: Her time for the marathon was just under three hours. He won the 100 metres in record time.

time noun (MUSIC)

[U] the number of beats in a bar of music, or the speed at which a piece of music is intended to be played: This piece is written in 4/4 time. Small children often have difficulty singing in time with the music (= at the same speed at which the music is being played). It seemed to me as if the violins were playing out of time (= at a different speed from the other instruments playing the same piece of music). To beat time is to make a regular series of sounds at the same speed as a piece of music is played. Tapping your foot will help you to keep time (= to play the music at the correct speed).

time noun (PRISON)

do time informal to spend a period of time in prison: It's not always easy to find a job after you've done time.

time noun (DRINKING)

[U] the particular point in the day at which people who are drinking in a bar in the UK have to finish their drinks and leave: "Time, please!" called the landlord. Is it time already?
Grammar

time

verb [T] uk   /taɪm/ us  

time verb [T] (ARRANGE)

to decide that something will happen at a particular time: [+ to infinitive] We timed our trip to coincide with my cousin's wedding. to arrange something so that it happens at an exactly suitable time: If you time your departure carefully, you should be able to miss the worst of the traffic. She won the game with a brilliantly timed shot (= one played at exactly the right moment).

time verb [T] (MEASURE)

B2 to measure how long it takes for something to happen or for someone to do something: Will you time me to see how long it takes me to swim a length?
(Definition of time noun, verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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