a. A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.
b. An interval separating two points on this continuum; a duration: a long time since the last war; passed the time reading.
c. A number, as of years, days, or minutes, representing such an interval: ran the course in a time just under four minutes.
d. A similar number representing a specific point on this continuum, reckoned in hours and minutes: checked her watch and recorded the time, 6:17 AM.
e. A system by which such intervals are measured or such numbers are reckoned: solar time.
a. often times An interval, especially a span of years, marked by similar events, conditions, or phenomena; an era: hard times; a time of troubles.
b. times The present with respect to prevailing conditions and trends: You must change with the times.
3. A suitable or opportune moment or season: a time for taking stock of one's life.
a. Periods or a period designated for a given activity: harvest time; time for bed.
b. Periods or a period necessary or available for a given activity: I have no time for golf.
c. A period at one's disposal: Do you have time for a chat?
5. An appointed or fated moment, especially of death or giving birth: He died before his time. Her time is near.
a. One of several instances: knocked three times; addressed Congress for the last time before retirement.
b. times Used to indicate the number of instances by which something is multiplied or divided: This tree is three times taller than that one. My library is many times smaller than hers.
a. One's lifetime.
b. One's period of greatest activity or engagement.
c. A person's experience during a specific period or on a certain occasion: had a good time at the party.
a. A period of military service.
b. A period of apprenticeship.
c. Informal A prison sentence.
a. The customary period of work: hired for full time.
b. The period spent working.
c. The hourly pay rate: earned double time on Sundays.
10. The period during which a radio or television program or commercial is broadcast: "There's television time to buy" (Brad Goldstein).
11. The rate of speed of a measured activity: marching in double time.
a. The meter of a musical pattern: three-quarter time.
b. The rate of speed at which a piece of music is played; the tempo.
13. Chiefly British The hour at which a pub closes.
14. Sports A time-out.
1. Of, relating to, or measuring time.
2. Constructed so as to operate at a particular moment: a time release.
3. Payable on a future date or dates.
4. Of or relating to installment buying: time payments.
tr.v. timed, tim·ing, timesPhrasal Verb:
1. To set the time for (an event or occasion).
2. To adjust to keep accurate time.
3. To adjust so that a force is applied or an action occurs at the desired time: timed his swing so as to hit the ball squarely.
4. To record the speed or duration of: time a runner.
5. To set or maintain the tempo, speed, or duration of: time a manufacturing process.
6. To speculate based on the anticipated short-term performance of (a market): time the stock market.
Computers To be canceled if an expected input is not received after a specified time. Used of processes.
With a quickly approaching time limit: worked against time to deliver the manuscript before the deadline.
Used to acknowledge an expression of gratitude.
at one time
2. At a period or moment in the past.
at the same time
On occasion; sometimes.
behind the times
for the time being
from time to time
Once in a while; at intervals.
The appropriate or urgent time: It's high time that you started working.
in good time
1. In a reasonable length of time.
2. When or before due.
in no time
Almost instantly; immediately.
1. Before a time limit expires.
2. Within an indefinite time; eventually: In time they came to accept the harsh facts.
a. In the proper tempo.
b. Played with a meter.
1. According to schedule; punctual or punctually.
2. By paying in installments.
time after time
Again and again; repeatedly.
time and again
Again and again; repeatedly.
time of (one's) life
A highly pleasurable experience: We had the time of our lives at the beach.
time on (one's) hands
An interval with nothing to do.
There was once a time: "Time was when [urban gangs] were part of a ... subculture that inner-city adolescence outgrew" (George F. Will).
[Middle English, from Old English tīma; see dā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.