Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “time”


noun (HISTORICAL PERIOD)    /taɪm/
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.)History - general words at one time C2 in the past: At one time, George Eliot lived here.In the past ahead of your time (UK also before your time) having new ideas, opinions, or ways of living long before most other people doModern and fashionableFashionModern and fashionable 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 ahead of yourtimeDescribing people who are young 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.In the past ahead of yourtimeGrammar:TimeTime is a noun with a number of meanings. In some senses it is countable, and in others it is uncountable. A good learner’s dictionary will give you its many meanings and tell you whether it is countable or uncountable.See more
(Definition of time noun (HISTORICAL PERIOD) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of time

Definitions of “time” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


the skill with which something was made or done

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More