Time Idioms

In this page, we will delve into the world of idioms about time. Time is an essential aspect of our daily lives, and we use idiomatic expressions to describe it in unique ways. We will provide you with a comprehensive list of common phrases and idioms about time in English, along with their meanings, ESL pictures, and example sentences.

List of Idioms about Time in English

List of idiomatic expressions about time.

  • (Once In A) Blue Moon
  • (Seen in the) Cold Light of Day
  • (Your) Days Are Numbered
  • Beat the Clock
  • Time Flies
  • 15 Minutes Of Fame
  • A Week is A Long Time In
  • About Time
  • About To
  • Against the Clock
  • Ahead Of the Curve
  • All Along
  • All in Good Time
  • Around the Clock
  • At the End of the Day … (X Will Happen.)
  • Behind the Times
  • Better Late Than Never
  • Big Time
  • Buy Time
  • Call Time
  • Kill Time
  • Call It a Day / Night
  • Coming Down the Pike
  • Fifteen Minutes of Fame
  • Have the Time of Your Life
  • In a New York Minute (Southern U.S.)
  • In Broad Daylight
  • Carry the Day
  • Serve Time
  • Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
  • In the Blink of an Eye
  • In the Dark
  • In the Interim
  • In the Long Run
  • In the Nick of Time
  • Living on Borrowed Time
  • May-December (adj.)
  • Month of Sundays
  • Not Ready for Prime Time
  • On the Spot
  • On the Spur of the Moment
  • Once in a Blue Moon
  • Once in a While
  • Open Season
  • Quarter Past
  • Quarter To/Of
  • Seize the Day
  • Six Ways to (from) Sunday (UK)
  • Take Your Time
  • The Time is Ripe
  • Time is Money
  • Twenty-Four Seven
  • Year In, Year Out

Idioms about Time

Time Idioms and Sayings with Meaning and Examples

List of idioms about time with meaning and example sentences.

Time Idioms and Expressions (A)

15 Minutes Of Fame

  • Meaning: A short-lived period of fame or celebrity. It comes from a quote by artist Andy Warhol, who said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
  • Example: “She became an overnight sensation after her video went viral, but her 15 minutes of fame were over just as quickly.”

A Week is A Long Time In

  • Meaning: This saying means that a lot can happen in a short amount of time.
  • Example: A week is a long time in politics. The situation can change dramatically in just seven days.”

About Time

  • Meaning: Something should have happened sooner.
  • Example: “It’s about time you got a new job. You’ve been unhappy in your current one for years.”

About To

  • Meaning: happen very soon.
  • Example: “I’m about to leave for my vacation. I just need to pack my bags.”

Against the Clock

  • Meaning: Someone is racing against time to finish something before a deadline.
  • Example: “The team was working against the clock to finish the project before the end of the day.”

Ahead Of the Curve

  • Meaning: Someone is doing something before it becomes popular or mainstream.
  • Example: “She was ahead of the curve when she started her own business. Now everyone is doing it.”

All Along

  • Meaning: Someone knew something all along, even if they didn’t say anything about it.
  • Example: “I knew all along that he was lying, but I didn’t have any proof.”

All in Good Time

  • Meaning: Something will happen when the time is right.
  • Example: “Don’t worry, we’ll get to it all in good time. There’s no need to rush.”

Around the Clock

  • Meaning: Something is happening 24 hours a day, without stopping.
  • Example: “The hospital staff works around the clock to take care of their patients.”

At the End of the Day … (X Will Happen.)

  • Meaning: Something is the most important factor in a situation.
  • Example: At the end of the day, it’s your decision. You need to do what’s best for you.”

Time Idioms and Expressions (B)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with B.

Behind the Times

  • Meaning: Old-fashioned or out of date.
  • Example: “My grandparents are a bit behind the times when it comes to technology. They still use a flip phone.”

Better Late Than Never

  • Meaning: It’s better to do something late than to never do it at all.
  • Example: “I know I’m late, but I still wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Better late than never, right?”

Beat the Clock

  • Meaning: Finish something before a deadline.
  • Example: “I had to beat the clock to finish my paper before the deadline.”

Big Time

  • Meaning: Very successful or important.
  • Example: “He made it big time after his first book became a bestseller.”

Buy Time

  • Meaning: Delay something in order to gain more time.
  • Example: “I need to buy sometime to finish this project. Can we push the deadline back a week?”

Time Idioms and Expressions (C)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with C.

Call Time

  • Meaning: End an event or activity.
  • Example: “The director called time on the meeting after three hours.”

Call It a Day / Night

  • Meaning: Stop working or doing something for the day or night.
  • Example: “It’s been a long day. Let’s call it a night and get some rest.”

Carry the Day

  • Meaning: Win or be successful in a situation.
  • Example: “Her hard work and dedication helped her carry the day and win the competition.”

Coming Down the Pike

  • Meaning: Something is coming soon or is on the horizon.
  • Example: “There are some exciting new projects coming down the pike that we can’t wait to share with everyone.”

(Seen in the) Cold Light of Day

  • Meaning: Something is being viewed objectively, without emotion or bias.
  • Example: “After looking at the situation in the cold light of day, I realized that I had made a mistake.”

Time Idioms and Expressions (D, F, H)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with D, F, H.

(Your) Days Are Numbered

  • Meaning: The time left for someone or something is limited.
  • Example: We need to finish this project quickly because our days are numbered before the deadline.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

  • Meaning: A brief period of celebrity or popularity.
  • Example: After winning the reality show, he enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame before disappearing from the public eye.

Have the Time of Your Life

  • Meaning: To enjoy oneself thoroughly.
  • Example: We had the time of our lives at the concert last night.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

  • Meaning: Something that is temporary or short-lived.
  • Example:  “I don’t trust that new company. They seem like they’re here today, gone tomorrow.”

Time Idioms and Expressions (I)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with I.

In a New York Minute (Southern U.S.)

  • Meaning: To do something very quickly.
  • Example: She finished her work in a New York minute and left the office early.

In Broad Daylight

  • Meaning: Something that happens in plain view, without any attempt to hide it.
  • Example: The thief stole the car in broad daylight, right in front of the owner.

In the Blink of an Eye

  • Meaning: Something that happens very quickly, almost instantaneously.
  • Example: The car accident happened in the blink of an eye, and before we knew it, the car was totaled.

In the Dark

  • Meaning: To be unaware of something.
  • Example: We were in the dark about the company’s financial troubles until the CEO made an announcement.

In the Interim

  • Meaning: In the meantime, while waiting for something else to happen.
  • Example: We’ll have to use a temporary solution in the interim until we can find a permanent one.

In the Long Run

  • Meaning: Over a long period of time.
  • Example: In the long run, investing in stocks is usually more profitable than keeping money in a savings account.

In the Nick of Time

  • Meaning: Just in time, right before it’s too late.
  • Example: We arrived at the airport in the nick of time before the flight took off.

Time Idioms and Expressions (K, L, M)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with I, K, L, M.

Kill Time

  • Meaning: Do something to pass the time until something else happens. It usually refers to doing something unproductive or boring.
  • Example: We had to wait for two hours at the airport, so we killed time by playing cards.

Living on Borrowed Time

  • Meaning: To continue living or doing something despite having a limited amount of time left.
  • Example: After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, he knew he was living on borrowed time.

May-December (adj.)

  • Meaning: Used to describe a romantic relationship where one partner is significantly older than the other.
  • Example:  My aunt is in a May-December relationship with a man 20 years younger than her.

Month of Sundays

  • Meaning: A very long time.
  • Example: It felt like a month of Sundays waiting in line for the concert tickets.

Time Idioms and Expressions (N, O, Q)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with N, O, Q.

Not Ready for Prime Time

  • Meaning: Not yet ready to be shown to the public or used in a serious situation.
  • Example: The new software is still in beta testing and not ready for prime time.

On the Spot

  • Meaning: Do it immediately, without any preparation or planning.
  • Example: The boss asked me to give a presentation on the spot, and I had to do it without any notes.

On the Spur of the Moment

  • Meaning: Do it without any planning or forethought, usually because of a sudden impulse.
  • Example: We decided to take a road trip on the spur of the moment and didn’t plan anything in advance.

Once in a Blue Moon

  • Meaning: happens very rarely or almost never.
  • Example: I only see my old college friends once in a blue moon.

Once in a While

  • Meaning: Happens occasionally or infrequently.
  • Example: I like to treat myself to a fancy dinner once in a while.

Open Season

  • Meaning: Available or allowed to be done without restriction.
  • Example: During the holiday season, it’s open season for shopping and spending money.

Note: This idiom is often used with “on,” as in the example.

Quarter Past

  • Meaning: 15 minutes past that hour.
  • Example: It’s quarter past three, and we should be leaving soon.

Quarter To/Of

  • Meaning: If it is quarter to or quarter of a certain hour, it means it is 15 minutes before that hour. For example:
  • Example: It’s quarter to six, and we still have some time before dinner.

Note: A quarter of six, used to mean X:45, is counter intuitive, but it is sometimes used.

Time Idioms and Expressions (S, T, Y)

List of expressions and idioms about time that start with S, T, Y.

Seize the Day

  • Meaning: Take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you right now, without delay.
  • Example: We decided to seize the day and go skydiving while we were on vacation.

Serve Time

  • Meaning: Spend time in prison or jail as a punishment for a crime.
  • Example: He was convicted of fraud and had to serve time in prison.

Six Ways to (from) Sunday (UK)

  • Meaning: It can be done in many different ways or methods.
  • Example: He tried to fix the car six ways to Sunday, but it still wouldn’t start.

Take Your Time

  • Meaning: Do something slowly and without rushing, usually to ensure that it is done correctly.
  • Example: You don’t need to hurry, take your time and make sure you finish the project properly.

The Time is Ripe

  • Meaning: The best time to do something, usually because the conditions are favorable.
  • Example: The time is ripe for us to invest in the stock market while the prices are low.

Time is Money

  • Meaning: Time is a valuable resource that should be used wisely and not wasted.
  • Example: We need to finish this project quickly because time is money.

Twenty-Four Seven

  • Meaning: Available all day, every day without interruption.
  • Example: The convenience store is open twenty-four-seven, so you can buy anything you need at any time.

Year In, Year Out

  • Meaning: Happens every year without fail.
  • Example: We go on a family vacation to the beach year in, year out.

Time Idioms | Video