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About time!


It’s about time we talked about time!

With it getting dark earlier and earlier, surely it isn’t just us who are wondering where the hours in our days are going? Since the clocks are being put back an hour on Sunday (here in the UK anyway!), we thought this week it would be appropriate to look at idioms about time.

In case you haven’t been following along, an idiom is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning separate from the actual definitions of the words used. There are an estimated 25,000 idioms in the English language and their existence is one of the reasons we believe English is so difficult to learn. Some users have even told us that knowing the meaning of certain idioms has saved them from an awkward moment or two!

  1. a whale of a time – a really good time.

  2. for the time being – for now, until we can think of something else to do.

  3. in the long run – eventually, after a long period.

  4. it’s high time – it is past the time when something should have been done.

  5. just in the nick of time – just in the last moment before a deadline/disaster.

  6. once in a blue moon – rarely.

  7. in the blink of an eye – very quickly, in an instant.

  8. donkeys years – a very long time.

  9. five o’clock shadow – the darkening of a man’s chin due to the slight beard growth since shaving in the morning.

  10. at the eleventh hour – at the last possible moment.

  11. month of Sundays – a very long time.

  12. to live on borrowed time – to survive longer than expected.

  13. shelf life – the length of time that something is useable.

  14. this ship has sailed – this opportunity has passed.

  15. small hours – the early hours of the morning.

  16. the time is ripe – it is the perfect moment for a particular activity.

  17. until hell freezes over – forever.

  18. a sign of the times – indicative of a particular period.

  19. to kill time – to do something while waiting to do other activities.

  20. to race against the clock – to competitively complete something as fast as possible/to complete something before you run out of time.

  21. day in the sun – a period of receiving attention and appreciation.

  22. to do time – to spend time in prison.

  23. crack of dawn – very early, day break.

  24. laugh a minute – very funny.

  25. mile a minute – quickly.

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?

Avani Shah


24 Oct 2014
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