noun (1)
mean·​time | \ ˈmēn-ˌtīm How to pronounce meantime (audio) \

Definition of meantime

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the time before something happens or before a specified period ends The new computers won't arrive until next week, but we can continue to use the old ones in the meantime.



Definition of meantime (Entry 2 of 3)

: meanwhile entry 2 meantime he had been attentive to his other interests— H. R. Warfel

mean time

noun (2)

Definition of mean time (Entry 3 of 3)

: time that is based on the motion of the theoretical mean sun To find local mean time, determine how many degrees of longitude you are from your time-zone standard. (Find your longitude on a map.) Multiply this number by four to get your correction in minutes. If you are east of the standard longitude your correction is a positive number; if you are west it is negative. Apply the correction to standard time to get your local mean time.Sky & Telescope

called also mean solar time

Meantime vs. Meanwhile

Noun (1)

Meantime and meanwhile have both been used as nouns in prepositional phrases like "in the meantime/meanwhile" since their earliest use in the 1300s. Both have been used as adverbs, like in "meanwhile/meantime, down at the farm…," since the late 1500s. They've been interchangeable for pretty much all of their long histories. But that doesn't mean they don't each have their favorite territory.

Meantime is the one that's usually used as a noun—that is, as the object of the preposition in phrases like "in the meantime" and "for the meantime":

We're headed to the beach this afternoon. In the meantime, I'm going to the grocery store.

And meanwhile is the usual choice for the role of adverb:

The kids are excited about the beach. Meanwhile, someone has to think about dinner.

But you'll see and hear examples that are counter to these generalizations, like the following:

In the meanwhile, someone should find the beach towels.

The baby is napping. Meantime, the older kids are looking for beach toys.

"In the meanwhile" has been accused of being "unidiomatic" (i.e. of sounding weird), but it isn't so unidiomatic that native speakers instinctively avoid it. If you use it, there's no reason you should stop.

But if you want to use this pair in the ways they're most often used and need help remembering which goes where, you can think of this sentence:

In the time it takes to say "in the meantime," you could just as well say "meanwhile."

Examples of meantime in a Sentence

Adverb He can come back to work when he's feeling better. Meantime, he should be resting as much as possible.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the meantime, customers have relied on bottled water to consume and cook with, and boiling to disinfect whatever water came from their faucets. Editors, USA TODAY, 18 June 2022 In the meantime, the company also plans to begin delivering freight for Union Pacific with fully autonomous trucks, says a company spokesman. Christopher Mims, WSJ, 18 June 2022 In the meantime, consumers will feel the pinch on both ends. - Powering A Personal Wealth Movement, Forbes, 17 June 2022 In the meantime, the theories persist as vestiges of that strange, heady period. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 June 2022 In the meantime, the Guardians called up rookie Oscar Gonzalez from Triple-A and have seen the 24 year old hit .342 with an .815 OPS and 26 hits in his first 19 games. Joe Noga, cleveland, 17 June 2022 In the meantime, Bradley said her practice has been compelled to offer alternative payment methods like scholarships to help extend access to care. Candace Smith, ABC News, 17 June 2022 In the meantime, the seven members will embark on solo careers, with j-hope said to be working on an album. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 17 June 2022 In the meantime, stETH combines the value of the initial staking deposit with staking rewards which accrue daily in a token that can earn further yield on decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms like Aave, Curve and SushiSwap. Ian Allison, Fortune, 17 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The vaccine-makers have had trouble showing worthwhile results in the youngest children, and in the meantime many young children have acquired some immunity by getting sick with, and recovering from, Covid. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 15 June 2022 Textbook publishers, meantime, are carrying out a Soviet-style purge of almost all references to Ukraine. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 11 June 2022 The Stars, meantime, acquired future considerations from Buffalo to free Bishop’s salary from their books to provide more flexibility to re-sign and add players this offseason., 10 June 2022 Or plan a future outing and, meantime, immerse yourself in everything Bowl. Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2022 Hulu’s ad-free plan, meantime, will run you just $12.99 per month. John Lonsdale, Rolling Stone, 13 May 2022 Figuring out what to do with the children, meantime, was entirely my problem. Leila Cobo, Billboard, 13 Apr. 2022 Heineken, meantime, expects impairment and non-cash related charges of 400 million euros ($438 million) from the sale. Thomas Mulier,, 28 Mar. 2022 Many if not most Ukrainians may want to return home after the war ends, but meantime the U.S. gets a talent boom. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 25 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The mean time to remediate (MTTR) a critical vulnerability in the web/application layer (the time a developer needs to fix code) is 47.6 days. Eoin Keary, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 But in the mean time, Moultrie, hairstylist Jamika Wilson and stylist Elizabeth Stewart share behind-the-scenes details of her shoot with Peggy Sirota below. Jackie Fields,, 13 Apr. 2022 Related to mean time to repair, this is a measure of how often the maintenance team is able to fix a problem on the first attempt. Bill Fahey, Forbes, 8 June 2021 That doesn’t mean time has passed for the older players. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2022 Although vacations and weekends can both mean time off from work (for some), vacations may impact employees differently than weekends off. Kim Elsesser, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 In the mean time, corporate users fell in love with their Apple and Android phones, and compelled their IT departments to support them. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 30 Dec. 2021 In the mean time, the New York Times reported, some city leaders fear implementing local mandates will drive officers to leave departments that have already been crippled by mass departures, and at a time when gun violence is surging nationwide. Rebecca Lurye,, 19 Oct. 2021 But, in the mean time, Balbo said the department is requesting a 3-year lease on another building. Alexandra Kukulka,, 22 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meantime.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of meantime

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1593, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1751, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About meantime

Time Traveler for meantime

Time Traveler

The first known use of meantime was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near meantime

mean the world to (someone)


mean time

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Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Meantime.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for meantime


mean·​time | \ ˈmēn-ˌtīm How to pronounce meantime (audio) \

Kids Definition of meantime

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the time between events or points of time You can play again but in the meantime rest.
2 : a time during which more than one thing is being done He napped, and in the meantime I worked.



Kids Definition of meantime (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the time between events or points of time or during which more than one thing is being done She worked and meantime raised a family.

More from Merriam-Webster on meantime

Nglish: Translation of meantime for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of meantime for Arabic Speakers


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