Idioms about time are commonly used in everyday language to express a variety of concepts related to time, such as the passage of time, the value of time, and the importance of timing. Some idioms about time are related to the idea that time is fleeting and cannot be regained once it’s lost, while others emphasize the importance of taking advantage of the time we have. Still, others refer to the idea that time can change our perceptions or emotions over time.
Overall, idioms about time are an interesting and colorful way to express ideas related to time and can add depth and nuance to our language.
What is an idiom about time?
An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a figurative meaning different from the literal meaning of the words. There are many idioms in the English language that relate to time, and they are commonly used in both formal and informal contexts. These idioms can be useful for communicating ideas or concepts concisely and memorably.
Some idioms about time include “time flies when you’re having fun,” “in the nick of time,” and “time is money.” Understanding idioms related to time can help improve one’s understanding and use of the English language.
20 idioms about time
Here are 20 popular idioms about time that you can use to make your conversations more interesting:
1. Time is on my side
“Time is on my side” is an idiom that means that someone has the advantage of time and that they will eventually achieve their desired outcome. It suggests that time is an ally that will help them to achieve their goals or overcome a challenge.
Example: “I may not have succeeded yet, but time is on my side and I’m confident that I will eventually get there.”
2. Time is a thief.
“Time is a thief” is an idiom that means time passes quickly and that we often feel as though time has taken something away from us, such as our youth or our opportunities.
Example: “I can’t believe my kids are all grown up already – time is such a thief.”
3. In the nick of time
The idiom “in the nick of time” means just in time or at the last possible moment, often to prevent a disaster or to complete a task. It suggests that the timing was very fortunate and that things could have gone wrong if the action had been taken even a little later.
Example: “The ambulance arrived in the nick of time and saved her life.”
4. Time waits for no one
“Time waits for no one” is an idiom that means that time passes relentlessly and waits for nobody. It suggests that time is constantly moving forward and that we cannot stop it or turn it back, so we need to make the most of the time we have.
Example: “I need to make the most of my time because time waits for no one.”
5. All in good time
“All in good time” is an idiom that means that something will happen at the appropriate time or in due time. It suggests that patience is required and that rushing or forcing things may not be the best approach.
Example: “I’m not too worried about finding a job right now – all in good time.”
6. Time is money
“Time is money” is an idiom that means that time is a valuable commodity and that wasting time is equivalent to wasting money. It suggests that time and money have a close relationship and that both should be used wisely.
Example: “We need to finish this project quickly – time is money, after all.”
7. Killing time
“Killing time” is an idiom that means to spend time doing something unimportant or to pass the time until something more important happens. It suggests that the person has nothing better to do at the moment and is simply waiting for something to happen.
Example: “We arrived early and had to kill time before the movie started.”
8. Once in a blue moon
“Once in a blue moon” is an idiom that means something that happens very rarely or only occurs once in a long time. It suggests that the event is unusual and unexpected and that it is a rare occurrence.
Example: “I only see my old college friends once in a blue moon.”
9. A race against time
“A race against time” is an idiom that means a situation where there is a limited amount of time to complete a task or reach a goal, and it is essential to do so before time runs out. It suggests that the person or people involved are under pressure to complete the task quickly and efficiently.
Example: “The rescuers were in a race against time to save the trapped miners.”
10. Time is of the essence
“Time is of the essence” is an idiom that means that time is a critical factor in a particular situation and that any delay could have serious consequences. It suggests that time is valuable and that action must be taken quickly and efficiently.
Example: “Time is of the essence if we want to complete this project before the end of the week.”
11. Make up for lost time
“Make up for lost time” is an idiom that means to do something quickly and efficiently to compensate for the time that has been wasted or lost in the past. It suggests that there is a desire to catch up and make progress quickly.
Example: “I need to make up for lost time on this project if I want to finish it on time.”
12. Time will tell
“Time will tell” is an idiom that means that the outcome of a situation or event cannot be predicted immediately, but will become clear over time. It suggests that it is necessary to wait and see what happens before making a final judgment or decision.
Example: “We don’t know if the new product will be successful, but time will tell.”
13. A stitch in time saves nine
“A stitch in time saves nine” is an idiom that means that it is better to take care of a problem early on, rather than waiting and allowing the problem to become more significant and difficult to solve later. It suggests that taking preventative action at an early stage can save time and effort in the long run.
Example: “I noticed a small crack in the wall, so I fixed it immediately. A stitch in time saves nine.”
14. Time out
“Time out” is an idiom that means to take a break or pause in an activity, especially to rest or calm down. It suggests that it is necessary to stop and take a break from what one is doing to avoid burnout or stress.
Example: “I need to take a time out and go for a walk to clear my head.”
15. Time is a great healer
“Time is a great healer” is an idiom that means that the passage of time can help ease emotional or physical pain caused by a difficult or traumatic experience. It suggests that over time, wounds can heal and the pain can lessen or even disappear.
Example: “It’s going to take time, but time is a great healer, and you will eventually feel better.”
16. Time after time
“Time after time” is an idiom that means repeatedly, or happening again and again. It suggests that something happens consistently and reliably, often without change or variation.
Example: “He’s been late to work time after time.”
17. A long time ago
“A long time ago” is an idiom that refers to a time in the distant past, usually from many years or even decades ago. It suggests that a significant amount of time has passed since the event being referred to, often emphasizing that it is no longer recent or relevant.
Example: “I remember reading that book a long time ago.”
18. Time is a flat circle
“Time is a flat circle” is an idiom that comes from a philosophical concept known as “eternal recurrence,” which suggests that the universe and all of its events repeat themselves infinitely. It suggests that time is cyclical, and history repeats itself endlessly, with no beginning or end.
Example: “I feel like I’m living the same day over and over again. Time is a flat circle.”
19. Time is a great teacher
“Time is a great teacher” is an idiom that means that with the passage of time, we gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience that can help us understand life and make better decisions. It suggests that the longer we live, the more we learn from our experiences, and the better equipped we are to navigate the world.
Example: “I made a lot of mistakes in my youth, but time has been a great teacher, and I’ve learned from them.”
20. Too much time on my hands
“Too much time on my hands” is an idiom that means having an excessive amount of free time and nothing to do with it. It suggests that someone is bored or unproductive due to having an abundance of free time, without any meaningful activities or responsibilities to fill it.
Example: “I’ve been unemployed for a while now and I have too much time on my hands.”