TIME Idioms: 10 Useful Idioms About Time in English

In this article, we will explore time idioms, which are commonly used in everyday English conversations. We’ll cover different idioms that will help you express yourself more naturally and fluently when discussing time-related topics.

Time Idioms

In this section, we will explore the fascinating world of time idioms. Time idioms are phrases or expressions that use time-related words to convey a particular meaning. These idioms are an essential part of the English language and are commonly used in everyday conversations.

Time Idioms

There are many different types of time idioms, and they can be grouped into three broad categories:

  • Clock Time Idioms: These idioms use words related to clocks and timepieces, such as “tick-tock” and “time’s up.”
  • Schedule Time Idioms: These idioms use words related to schedules and deadlines, such as “beat the clock” and “time is running out.”
  • The Passage of Time Idioms: These idioms use words related to the passage of time, such as “time flies” and “time heals all wounds.”

Learning time idioms can be challenging, especially for non-native English speakers. However, with practice and patience, anyone can master these expressions and use them in their daily conversations.

Some common time idioms include:

  • “In the nick of time” – meaning just in time, at the last possible moment
  • “Time is money” – meaning time is valuable and should not be wasted
  • “A race against time” – meaning a situation where time is limited, and there is a need to act quickly
  • “Time flies” – meaning time passes quickly
  • “A matter of time” – meaning something is inevitable and will happen eventually

Time Idioms with Meanings

Here are some English idioms and phrases about time.

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A devil of a time

  • Meaning: A difficult or frustrating time
  • He had a devil of a time getting home.

For the time being

  • Meaning: At the present moment; for now
  • We shall put it aside for the time being.

Bad time

  • Meaning: An inconvenient moment or an unfortunate experience
  • I want to impress on everyone that the bad times are over.

Time to hit the road

  • Meaning: Time to depart
  • It is time to hit the road again.

Around the clock

  • Meaning: At all times
  • The company worked around the clock to repair the problem.

Kill time

  • Meaning: To do something while waiting
  • We played cards to kill time until the bus came.

As time goes by

  • Meaning: As time passes or moves
  • As time goes by, they turn against each other.

Lose track of time

  • Meaning: To be unaware of what time it is
  • You become so deeply absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time.

Caught in a time wrap

  • Meaning: Unchanged in an antiquated or obsolete way
  • Caught in a time wrap, the explorers were unable to escape the ancient ruins they had stumbled upon.

Have a time of it

  • Meaning: To experience particular trouble or difficulty
  • She had a time of it trying to finish the project before the deadline.

Common Time Idioms

Time is Money

The idiom “time is money” means that time is a valuable resource that should not be wasted. This is especially true in the business world, where time wasted can mean lost opportunities and lost profits. To illustrate this point, consider the following example:

“We need to finish this project by the end of the week. Time is money, and we can’t afford to waste any more of it.”

Against the Clock

The idiom “against the clock” means that there is a limited amount of time to complete a task, and time is running out. This idiom is often used in sports, where athletes must complete a task within a certain amount of time. It can also be used in the workplace, where deadlines are looming. Here is an example:

“We need to finish this report against the clock. The deadline is tomorrow at noon.”

In the Nick of Time

The idiom “in the nick of time” means that something happened just in time to prevent a disaster or failure. This idiom is often used in situations where a last-minute save is made. Here is an example:

“I was about to miss my flight, but I made it to the airport in the nick of time.”

Time Idioms in Everyday Speech

Kill Time

Sometimes we find ourselves with extra time on our hands, and we need to find a way to pass it. In this situation, we might say that we are “killing time.” This idiom means that we are doing something to pass the time until something else happens. For example, if we are waiting for a friend to arrive, we might say that we are “killing time” by reading a book or playing a game on our phone.

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Time Flies

Have you ever noticed that time seems to pass more quickly when we are having fun? This is the idea behind the idiom “time flies.” When we are enjoying ourselves, time seems to go by quickly. This idiom can also be used to express surprise that a certain amount of time has passed. For example, if we haven’t seen a friend in a while, we might say “Wow, time flies! It feels like just yesterday that we last saw each other.”

Once in a Blue Moon

The phrase “once in a blue moon” is used to describe something that happens very rarely. This idiom comes from the fact that a blue moon (the second full moon in a calendar month) only occurs about once every two and a half years. For example, if we only see a certain relative once every few years, we might say that we see them “once in a blue moon.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the idiom for time flying?

The idiom for time flying is “time flies”. This phrase is often used to express how quickly time seems to pass by. For example, we might say “Time flies when you’re having fun” to describe how quickly a fun activity seems to end.

What is the idiom for a long time ago?

The idiom for a long time ago is “once upon a time”. This phrase is often used to begin a story or fairy tale, and it suggests that the events of the story took place a long time ago, in a far-off place.

What is the idiom for time passing quickly?

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The idiom for time passing quickly is “time flies when you’re having fun”. This phrase suggests that when we are enjoying ourselves, time seems to pass quickly.

What is the idiom for spending time?

The idiom for spending time is “kill time”. This phrase is often used to describe doing something to pass the time when we are bored or waiting for something.

What is the idiom for time moving quickly?

The idiom for time moving quickly is “time flies”. This phrase suggests that time seems to pass quickly, especially when we are enjoying ourselves.

What is the idiom for time passing by?

The idiom for time passing by is “time marches on”. This phrase suggests that time continues to move forward, regardless of what we do or how we feel about it.

Last Updated on November 17, 2023

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