noun (C)
1 60 MINUTES a period of 60 minutes. There are 24 hours in a day: The flight to Moscow takes just over three hours. | Karen is paid $10 an hour. | in an hour/in an hour's time (=an hour from now): I'll be back in an hour. | an hour's work/wait etc: The system crashed and I lost three hours' work | pay/charge by the hour (=pay or charge someone according to the number of hours it takes to do something)
2 DISTANCE the distance you can travel in an hour: be an hour from: We're only an hour by car from New York. | an hour's drive/walk etc (=a distance that takes an hour to drive, walk etc): It's only about an hour's drive from here, isn't it?
3 TIMES FOR BUSINESS/WORK ETC hours (plural) a fixed period of time in the day when a particular activity, business etc happens: hours of business 9.00 - 5.00 | office/opening hours (=when an office or shop is working or open) | visiting hours (=when you can visit someone in hospital) | out of hours BrE (=before or after the usual working or business hours) | after hours (=after the time when a business, especially a bar, is supposed to close) | lunch/dinner hour (=the period in the middle of the day when people stop work for a meal)
—see also: rush hour, happy hour
4 work long/regular etc hours if you work long, regular etc hours, the period that you work is longer than usual, always the same etc: the long hours worked by hospital doctors | work unsocial hours (=work in the evenings so that you cannot spend time with family or friends) | work all the hours that God sends (=work all the time that you can)
5 TIME OF DAY often plural a particular period or point of time during the day or night: the small hours (=the period between midnight and two or three o'clock in the morning): The celebrations went on into the small hours. | the hours of darkness/daylight literary: Few people dared to venture out during the hours of darkness. | at this hour spoken (=used when you are surprised or annoyed by something happening too late at night or too early in the morning): Who can be calling at this late hour? | unearthly/ungodly hour spoken (=used when you are complaining about how early or late something is): We had to get up at some ungodly hour to catch a plane. | at all hours (of the day or night) spoken (=at any time): Our neighbours play loud music at all hours. | till all hours spoken (=until an unreasonably late time at night): She's up till all hours studying. | keep late/regular etc hours (=go to bed and get up at late, regular etc times)
—see also: waking hours/life/day etc waking
a) hours (plural) informal a long time or a time that seems long: We had to spend hours filling in forms. | I've been waiting here for hours. | hours and hours (=a very long time): a really boring lecture - and it just went on for hours and hours
b) hour after hour continuously for many hours
7 within hours of only a few hours after doing something or after something happening: Within hours of landing, troops had started to advance inland.
8 O'CLOCK the time of the day when a new hour starts, for example one o'clock, two o'clock etc: strike the hour (=if a clock strikes the hour, it rings, to show that it is one o'clock, seven o'clock etc) | (every hour) on the hour (=every hour at six o'clock, seven o'clock etc): There are flights to Boston every hour on the hour.
9 1300/1530/1805 hours used to give the time in official or military reports and orders
10 by the hour/from hour to hour if a situation is changing by the hour or from hour to hour, it is changing very quickly and very often: This financial crisis is growing more serious by the hour.
11 POINT IN HISTORY OR SB'S LIFE an important moment or period in history or in your life: finest hour: This was our country's finest hour. | sb's hour of need/glory etc (=a time when someone needs help, is very successful etc): Don't desert me in my hour of need.
12 of the hour of a particular time, especially the present time: one of the burning questions of the hour | the hero/man of the hour (=someone who does something very brave, is very successful etc at a particular time)
—see also: the eleventh hour eleventh (2), hourly, zero hour

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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