garbage time

noun

US, sports
: the final moments or minutes of a game in which one side has an insurmountable lead, substitutes often enter the game in place of starting players, and scoring is typically easier because of looser defensive play
… the forgotten foursome of Greg Kite, Fred Roberts, Sam Vicent and Conner Henry will be on call in case of extreme emergency and those meaningless minutes appropriately referred to as garbage time.Gerry Finn
One touchdown was all the Broncos' D allowed, and that came in garbage time.Paul Zimmerman

Examples of garbage time in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Huerter was taken out of Wednesday’s game with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter and didn’t return — in part because Brown emptied the bench and played only reserves in fourth-quarter garbage time. Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee, 2 Mar. 2024 In the waning seconds of the Warriors’ blowout win over Charlotte, tempers flared when Lester Quinones took a layup in garbage time. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 24 Feb. 2024 After Garoppolo was yanked late in the fourth quarter, Purdy got some garbage time reps, completing 4 of 9 passes for 66 yards and an interception. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 11 Feb. 2024 Collins and Neal each knocked one down late in garbage time. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 29 Jan. 2024 Now his first team meeting at his new school in a new conference consisted of a sophomore walk-on who played eight minutes of garbage time and a pair of redshirts. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Feb. 2024 Sure, that came in garbage time of blowout wins, but how many teams can claim a Pro Bowl quarterback under 30 as their backup? Baltimore Sun Staff, Baltimore Sun, 5 Jan. 2024 The bench got four more points in garbage time and finished with seven, but that still was the fewest by SDSU backups in 56 games. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Nov. 2023 Not a lot of garbage time available to bloody rookies. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'garbage time.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1960, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of garbage time was in 1960

Dictionary Entries Near garbage time

Cite this Entry

“Garbage time.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/garbage%20time. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!