Idioms are neat little expressions that may not always make sense literally but are commonly understood by the culture where they are used. There are many common idioms in the English language used to express time. Time is precious to us all, sometimes it flies by, sometimes there's never enough. Whatever message about time you want to relay these idioms will make it fun.
The following are 20 commonly used expressions about time:
- A stitch in time (saves nine): A proverb meaning make a little effort to fix something small before it gets larger and more of a problem.
Example: You should fix the leak now before it causes more damage. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine.
- Against the clock: When you are rushing to get something completed in a small amount of time.
Example: She was working against the clock to get her report done by the end of the day.
- At a set time: Doing something at a specific time that has been agreed upon.
Example: They agreed to meet at a set time so that there was no confusion.
- Beat the clock: Do something before the time is up.
Example: He just beat the clock and got the article to print before six o'clock.
- Better late than never: It is better to do something late than not do it at all.
Example: Sorry I missed dinner but I got here in time for dessert, better late than never.
- Crack of dawn: Very early in the morning.
Example: She gets up at the crack of dawn every day to take the dog for a walk.
- Eleventh hour: Having something happen at the very last minute.
Example: He had to cancel his trip at the eleventh hour, but still got a refund.
- In the blink of an eye: When something seems to happen very quickly.
Example: In the blink of an eye, he was off to college. Where had my baby gone!
- In the nick of time: To do something with no time to spare.
Example: We got to the movie theater in the nick of time and didn't miss the beginning.
- Kill time: Do something to pass the time.
Example: We had to kill time by singing silly songs until all the party guests arrived.
- Like clockwork: Something that happens regularly.
Example: The mailman is like clockwork and gets to our house at noon every day.
- On the dot: Something happening at an exact time.
Example: I noticed that he arrived to the interview on the dot.
- Once in a blue moon: Something that happens very rarely.
Example: I will go to the club once in a blue moon to make my friends happy.
- Save time: To do something quickly.
Example: To save time, we took the toll road to the conference.
- Time after time: When you do something repeatedly.
Example: I have told him time after time to clean his room!
- Time flies: When time passes by quickly.
Example: The kids were sad the party was over, but time flies when you are having fun.
- To do time: To be in prison.
Example: He had to do time after his fifth speeding ticket.
- Turn back time: To go back to the past to reminiscence about something.
Example: I wish I could turn back time and redo my senior year of high school.
- Wasting time: When you do something with no purpose.
Example: You are just wasting time with this rambling excuse.
- Whale of a time: To have a great time or to do something that is really fun.
Example: We had a whale of a time on our trip to Disney World.
Expressions of Time
Idioms are often used to express concepts of time. Whether you want to make a witty statement about time or are looking for a quick way to get your idea across, there are a wide variety of idioms to match your needs.