1 (U) something that is measured in minutes, hours, years etc using clocks: a machine that can travel through time | The basic unit of time, the second, was redefined in 1967. | time passes/goes by: time goes by so quickly these days.TIME SHOWN ON A CLOCK2 (singular) a particular point in time shown on a clock in hours and minutes: What time is it? | what time do you make it? BrE /what time do you have? AmE (=used to ask someone with a watch what time it is) | have you got the time? BrE /do you have the time? AmE (=used to ask someone if they know what time it is) | tell the time BrE/tell time AmE (=be able to know what time it is by looking at the clock): He's ten years old and he still can't tell the time. | look at the time spoken (=used when it is later than you thought it was): Oh look at the time-we'd better get moving.3 keep good/perfect etc time if a clock or watch keeps good or perfect time, it works very well4 IN PART OF THE WORLD (U) the time in one particular part of the world, or the time used in one particular area: Eastern Standard Time/British Summer Time | local time: We will be arriving in New York at 3 am local time.OCCASION5 (C) an occasion when something happens or someone does something: every/each time: It was the only time I ever saw her lose her temper. | Every time I meet her I always forget her name. | next time: Give us a call next time you're in town. | this time: I won't report you this time but don't do it again. | the last time: When was the last time you were ill? | one time (=once): I came home one time and found that someone had smashed all the windows.HOW OFTEN6 three/four/ten etc times used to say how often something happens: I must have called you about five times. | How many times have you visited the US? | We visit him two or three times a month.7 nine times out of ten/99 times out of 100 used to say that something is almost always true or almost always happens: Nine times out of ten she's right.8 all the time continuously or very often: It's a really useful book - I use it all the time.9 most of the time very often or almost always: Most of the time they seem to just sit around watching TV.10 the whole time if something happens the whole time, especially something annoying, it happens continuously: The baby was crying the whole time.11 time after time/time and time again happening often over a long period, especially in a way that is annoying: I've told her time after time not to bring that dog in here.12 at times sometimes but not usually: At times I wonder if it's worth all the effort.13 from time to time sometimes, but not regularly or very often: I still see her from time to time.14 half the time especially spoken if something happens half the time, especially something annoying, it happens quite often: Half the time they don't even bother to answer my letters.15 at no time used to say strongly that something never happened or should never happen: at no time do/did etc: At no time did I tell you that you could use my car.16 at all times used especially in official notices or announcements to say what always happens or should always happen: Identification badges must be worn at all times.TIME WHEN STH HAPPENS17 (C, U) the particular minute, hour, day etc when something happens or someone does something: What time did you get to bed? | Her note didn't give the time of the meeting. | We both left college at around the same time. | by the time: By the time you get this letter I'll be in Canada. | opening/closing time (=the time when a shop, bar etc opens) | arrival/departure time (=the time when a train, plane etc leaves): Departure times for all flights to Spain are subject to delay. | lunch/dinner/break etc time (=the time when you usually have lunch etc) | at any one time (=at any particular time): There are always at least two nurses on duty at any one time. | this time tomorrow/last week etc: This time tomorrow I'll be getting on a plane to Dallas.TIME WHEN STH SHOULD HAPPEN18 (singular) the time when you should do something, when something should happen, or when something is expected to happen: it's time to do sth: Come on kids, it's time to go home. | it's time sb did sth/was doing sth (=used when saying that someone should do something soon): It's time we had a party. | it's time for: The voters felt it was time for a change.19 it's about time especially spoken used to say strongly that you think something should happen soon or should already have happened: It's about time he got himself a proper job.20 and about time too/not before time spoken used when you are annoyed because someone arrives late or something happens later than you expected or than was arranged: “Here's Helen!” “And about time too - where has she been?”21 on time arriving or happening at the correct time or the time that was arranged: These buses are never on time. | right/bang/dead on time (=at exactly the right time): Our train arrived bang on time.22 ahead of/behind time earlier or later than the time when a piece of work should be finished, someone should arrive somewhere etc: The dam was completed two years ahead of time.23 call time BrE to tell the customers in a pub that it is time to stop drinkingSUITABLE TIME24 (C, U) a suitable or convenient time for something to happen or someone to do something: good/bad time (=a convenient or inconvenient time): I'm afraid you've caught me at a bad time - Can you call back later? | not be the time/be hardly the time: This is hardly the time to ask him for a loan. | come at the right/wrong time: The pay rise came at just the right time.25 there's no time like the present especially spoken used to say that now is a good time to do something: If you're thinking of buying a house, there's no time like the present.26 the time is ripe (for) used to say that the conditions are suitable now for something to happen: The time is ripe for a peace settlement.27 when the time comes when something that you expect to happen actually happens, or when something becomes necessary: I'm sure she'll make the right choice when the time comes.PERIOD OF TIME28 (singular) a period of time during which something happens or someone does something: I enjoyed my time as a student. (=the period when I was a student) | for a long time/for some time etc: The cheering went on for quite some time. | a long time ago/some time ago: All this happened a very long time ago, before you were born. | time of year/day etc: It should be pretty out there at this time of the year.29 at the time at a particular moment or period in the past, especially when the situation is very different now: It seemed like a good idea at the time. | I was living in Phoenix at the time.30 at one time at some time in the past but not now: This used to be a very pretty valley at one time.31 at this time AmE at this particular moment: I don't really want to start up any new relationships at this time.32 for the time being for a short period of time from now, but not permanently: You can stay in the spare room for the time being.33 for a time for a fairly short time, until something happens to change the situation: For a time we all lived together peacefully. Then the trouble started. | Peter lived in Italy for a time.34 for some time for a fairly long time: I hadn't seen my family for some time.35 for hours/months etc at a time for a period that continues for several hours, months etc: Alex is happy to read for hours at a time.36 for any length of time for more than just a short time: He seemed unable to keep the same job for any length of time.37 from time out of mind literary for a very long timeGOOD TIME/BAD TIME ETC38 (C) a good time, bad time, difficult time, etc is a period or part of your life when you have good, bad, difficult etc experiences: This was the happiest time of her life. | have a good/great/fantastic time (=enjoy yourself a lot): Thanks for the meal - we both had a really good time. | good/bad/hard etc times:: It's best to forget the bad times and just remember the good ones.PERIOD IN HISTORY39 (C) also times (plural) a particular period in history: Roman/Greek/ancient etc times: a tradition that goes back to Medieval times | The film takes us back to the time of the American War of Independence. | our time(s) (=the present period in history): peace in our timeTIME NEEDED TO DO STH40 (C, U) the amount of time that it takes you to do something: How much time will it take you to finish your essay? | journey time/travel time: The Channel tunnel has cut the journey time from London to Paris by as much as hours.41 take time if doing something takes time, it needs a long period of time: Learning a language isn't easy - it takes time.42 IN A RACE (C) the amount of time taken by a runner, swimmer etc in a race: the fastest time in the world this year over 400 metres43 have (the) time to have enough time to do something(+ for): Do you have time for a coffee? | have time to do sth: I don't have time to talk to you right now. | She hung up before I had time to say sorry.44 make/find time to arrange your plans so that you have enough time to do something: You should try and make time to see a doctor.45 there is time there is enough time for someone to do something: We thought we'd do some shopping after lunch, if there's time. | there is time (for sb) to do sth: We had to leave at once - there wasn't even time to pack.available timeAVAILABLE TIME46 (U) the amount of time that is available for you to do something: You'd better hurry up - we don't have much time. | Time is running out in the hostage crisis. | sb's time (=the time they have available): I seem to spend most of my time on the phone. | precious time (=time that is valuable because there is not much available): Hurry up--we're wasting precious time.47 have all the time in the world used to say that you have as much time as you want in which to do something48 time's up spoken used in competitions and examinations to tell people that there is no more time left49 be out of time an expression used on television and radio programmes when saying that there is no more time left: Sorry, we're out of time - I'll have to stop you there.SLOWLY/QUICKLY50 take your timea) to do something slowly or carefully without hurrying: There's no need to rush back - just take your time.b) to do something more slowly than seems reasonable: The builders are certainly taking their time with our roof!51 in no time at all/in next to no time very quickly or soon, especially in a way that is surprising: Jed got the car fixed in no time at all.52 make good time if you make good time on a journey, you travel quickly, especially more quickly than you expected: There wasn't much traffic, so we made good time.53 there's no time to lose used to say that you must do something quickly because there is very little time54 with time to spare sooner than expected or necessary: There was very little traffic, and we got to the airport with time to spare.55 time is of the essence formal used to say that it is important that something is done quickly56 time is money used to say that wasting time or delaying something costs moneyMODERN57 ahead of your time someone who is ahead of their time uses the newest ideas and methods, which are later used by many other people: Matisse was well ahead of his time in his use of colour.58 ahead of its time a machine, system etc that is ahead of its time has a very modern and advanced design: way ahead of its time (=a long way ahead of its time): The car, which featured a turbo-charged engine and disc-brakes, was way ahead of its time.IN TIME59 in 10 days/five years/a few minutes' etc time ten days, five years etc from now: Don't worry, we'll be at the hospital in a couple of minutes' time.60 in timea) early or soon enough to do something: in time to do sth: Brian usually gets home in time to bath the children. | just in time: “Did you catch your plane?” “Yes - we got there just in time.” | in good time/in plenty of time (=early, so that you do not have to rush or you have enough time to get ready): Let me know in good time if you need any help.b) after a certain period of time, especially after a gradual process of change and development: Don't worry - I'm sure things will get better in time.HOW MANY61 one/three/a few etc at a time separately, or in groups of three, a few etc together at the same time: We had to see the nurse one at a time. | He dragged himself along a few steps at a time.COMPARISONS62 five/ten/many etc times used to say how much bigger, better etc one thing is than another: Their garden is three times bigger than ours. | Sue earns five times as much as I do.63 the best/biggest etc...of all time the best, biggest etc of a particular kind of person or thing that has ever existed: the most successful movie of all timeGRADUALLY/EVENTUALLY64 all in good time used to tell someone to be patient because something they are waiting for will certainly happen eventually, and probably quite soon65 it's (only) a matter/question of time used to say that something will definitely happen at some time in the future, but you do not know when: That road's dangerous - it's only a matter of time before someone gets killed.66 (only) time will tell used to say that it will eventually become clear whether or not something is true, right etc, at some time in the future: I don't know if she's the best choice for the job - only time will tell.67 over time if something happens over time, it happens gradually during a long period: Over time her husband's mood seemed to change.68 with time/given time after a certain period of time, especially after a gradual process of change and development: I guess things will improve with time.69 time heals all wounds used to say that things you are worried or upset about will gradually disappear as time passesMUSIC70 MUSIC (U) the number of beats beat 2 (4) in each bar bar 1 (6) in a piece of music: Waltzes are usually in three-four time71 in time to if you do something in time to a piece of music, you do it using the same rhythm and speed as the music: She began moving her body in time to the music.72 keep time to play a piece of music using the right rhythm and speed73 keep/beat time to show the rhythm and speed that a piece of music should be played at to a group of musicians, using your hands74 in/out of time (with) if you are in or out of time with someone who is playing a piece of music, you are not following the same rhythm and speed as themLIKE/DISLIKE75 have a lot of time for informal to like or admire someone or something76 not have much time for/have no time for informal to dislike and not want to waste your time on someone or something: She's always complaining - I've got no time for people like that.OTHER MEANINGS77 before your timea) something that is before your time happened before you were born, before you started working or living somewhere etc: The Beatles were a bit before my time.b) if you do something before your time, you do it before the time when most people usually do it in their lives: She's growing old before her time.78 in my/your etc time during the period of time when you were living in a particular place or working in a particular company etc.: Of course in my time we didn't have all these computers.79 in your own time if you do work or studying in your own time, you do it outside normal school or work hours80 in your own good time informal when you are ready: I'll speak to him about it in my own good time.81 (sb's) time is up spoken used to say that someone has to stop doing something, because they have done it for long enough: OK kids! Time's up - get out of the pool.82 sb's time is up/sb's time is drawing near someone is going to die soon83 be near her time old-fashioned if a woman is near her time, she is going to have a baby soon84 time is on your side used to say that someone is young enough to be able to wait before doing something or until something happens85 against time if you work against time to do something, you try to do it even though you have very little time86 time was (when) used to say that there was a time when you used to be able to do something, when something used to happen etc: Time was when you could buy a new car for less than $500.87 pass the time of day (with sb) to say hello to someone and have a short talk with them88 PRISON do time to spend a period of time in prison89 time and a half one and a half times the normal rate of pay—see also: big time, fulltime, half time, parttime, at the best of times best 3 (12), it is high time high 1 (20), bide your time bide (1), the fullness of time fullness (1), kill time kill 1 (9), lose time lose (14), mark time mark 1 (11), move with the times move 1 (19), in the nick of time nick 1 (1), for old times' sake old (18), once upon a time once 1 (14), play for time play 1 (15), at the same time same 1 (3), be a sign of the times sign 1 (9), a stitch in time (saves nine) stitch 1 (9), have a whale of a time whale 1 (2) 2 verb (T)1 (usually passive) to arrange or choose that something should happen at a particular time: You timed your arrival well; we're just going to eat. | be timed to do sth: The bomb was timed to go off in the rush-hour. | be timed for sth: The next show is timed for 8 o'clock.2 to measure how fast someone or something is going, how long it takes to do something etc: We timed our journey: it took two and a half hours. | time sb/sth at: Christie was timed at 10.02 seconds. | time how long: Time how long it takes me to swim 4 lengths.3 to hit a ball or make a shot at a particular moment: a perfectly timed smash | time sth well/badly etc: Baggio timed that pass beautifully.—see also: illtimed, mistime, welltimed
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.