30 Common English Idioms Related to TIME

Useful English idioms and phrases about Time...


1. Buy time

  • Meaning: To do something to postpone an event:

E.g. She is just stalling to buy time.

2. Do time

  • Meaning: To spend time in prison

E.g. He did time in a California prison.

3. A race against time/the clock

  • Meaning: An attempt to do something very quickly

E.g. It’s a race against time to complete the construction.

4. A whale of a time

  • Meaning: An especially exciting or fun experience

E.g. The kids had a whale of a time at the theme park.

5. Time flies

  • Meaning: Time passes extremely quickly

E.g. Look how fast our children grew up, how time flies.

6. It’s high time

  • Meaning: It’s the right time to do something, or past the appropriate time to do something.

E.g. It’s high time he met with me to resolve this issue.

7. Third time’s a charm

  • Meaning: The third time you do something it will finally work.

E.g. I had to ask her out three times before she said yes. Well you know… Third time’s a charm.

8. Beat the clock

  • Meaning: Finish something before time is up, before a deadline.

E.g. Although she was late to the exam, she managed to beat the clock and finished all of it 10 minutes before the end.

9. Better late than never

  • Meaning: Doing something late is better than not doing it at all. It can be used sarcastically if someone is very late.

E.g. Well hello John. Better late than never, huh? Class started half an hour ago.

10. At the eleventh hour

  • Meaning: Almost too late or at the last possible moment.

E.g. We barely made the deadline, there was so much to do in this project we turned it in at the eleventh hour.

11. In the long run

  • Meaning: In the long term, over a long period of time.

E.g. I hate having so much after school activities now, but I know in the long run this will be beneficial for me.

12. Make up for lost time

  • Meaning: To catch up, to do something intensely to make up for a long period of not doing it.

E.g. Where have you been for so long? I ran into Katie, we had to make up for lost time and talked for hours.

13. In the nick of time

  • Meaning: at the last possible moment, just before it’s too late.

E.g. I made it to the wedding in the nick of time, I almost missed the ceremony.

14. Ship has sailed

  • Meaning: A lost opportunity, missed shot.

E.g. I should call Annie, I’ve been thinking about her lately. Sorry Chad, that ship has sailed. She got married last month.

15. Around the clock

  • Meaning: for 24 hours, without stopping.

E.g. I know it’s very late, but I really feel ill. Do you know which pharmacy is open around the clock?

16. Call it a day

  • Meaning: To finish working on something, a day’s work’s been completed.

E.g. We’ve been working for a long time on this with no progress. Let’s call it a day and come with new ideas tomorrow.

17. In one stroke

  • Meaning: Immediately, at the same time.

E.g. I went out to run errands and managed to do everything on one stroke.

18. Not born yesterday

  • Meaning: Experienced, not naïve or easily fooled.

E.g.You can’t expect me to believe that the vase broke itself. I wasn’t born yesterday, you were playing ball with the dog in the house again!

19. On someone’s watch

  • Meaning: during the time that someone is in charge, while someone is on duty.

E.g. Mark has got a bruise on his leg again. Why do kids always get hurt on your watch?

20. A devil of a time

  • Meaning: A difficult or frustrating time

E.g. We had a devil of a time convincing grandpa to go to the doctor for that bad cough.

21. Ahead of time

  • Meaning: Earlier than a given deadline

E.g. If we get to the theater ahead of time, we'll have our pick of good seats.

22. A matter/question of time

  • Meaning: used for saying that something will definitely happen, but you are not sure when

E.g. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt.

23. A rare old time

  • Meaning: a fine and enjoyable time at a party or something similar

E.g. We had a rare old time at Tom's the other night.

24. All in good time

  • Meaning: An expression that encourages patience

E.g. I know you wish yourhouse had sold already, but all in good time.

25. Borrowed time

  • Meaning: An uncertain amount of time, at the end of which something will no longer exist or occur

E.g.Accidentsand disease can strike so unexpectedly that it feels like we're all living on borrowed time.

26. Bad time

  • Meaning: An inconvenient moment or an unfortunate experience

E.g. I'm afraid you've called at a bad time. I'm already on my way out the door.

27. For the time being

  • Meaning: At the present moment; for now

E.g. For the time being, our plans remain unchanged until something convinces usotherwise.

28. Caught in a time warp

  • Meaning: Unchanged in an antiquated or obsolete way

E.g.This town is so entrenched in its backwards ideals and moral values, like it's caught in a time warp or something!

29. Have a time of it

  • Meaning: To experience particular trouble or difficulty

E.g. We all had a time of it after our father died. Mary's having a time of it in hernew math class.

30. Time to hit the road

  • Meaning: Time to depart

E.g. Look at the clock. It's past midnight. It's time to hit the road.

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30 Common English Idioms Related to TIME

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