\ ˈtīm \

Definition of time 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues : duration

b : a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future

c : leisure time for reading

2 : the point or period when something occurs : occasion

3a : an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end arrived ahead of time

b : an opportune or suitable moment decided it was time to retire often used in the phrase about time about time for a change

4a : a historical period : age

b : a division of geologic chronology

c : conditions at present or at some specified period usually used in plural times are hardmove with the times

d : the present time issues of the time

5a : lifetime

b : a period of apprenticeship

c : a term of military service

d : a prison sentence

6 : season very hot for this time of year

7a : rate of speed : tempo

b : the grouping of the beats of music : rhythm

8a : a moment, hour, day, or year as indicated by a clock or calendar what time is it

b : any of various systems (such as a sidereal or solar system) of reckoning time

9a : one of a series of recurring instances or repeated actions you've been told many times

b times plural

(1) : added or accumulated quantities or instances five times greater

(2) : equal fractional parts of which an indicated number equal a comparatively greater quantity seven times smaller three times closer

c : turn three times at bat

10 : finite as contrasted with infinite duration

11 : a person's experience during a specified period or on a particular occasion a good time a hard time

12a : the hours or days required to be occupied by one's work make up time on company time

b : an hourly pay rate straight time

c : wages paid at discharge or resignation pick up your time and get out

13a : the playing time of a game

b : time-out sense 1

14 : a period during which something is used or available for use computer time

at the same time

: nevertheless, yet slick and at the same time strangely unprofessional —Gerald Weaks

at times

: at intervals : occasionally

for the time being

: for the present

from time to time

: once in a while : occasionally

in no time

: very quickly or soon

in time

1 : sufficiently early

3 : in correct tempo learn to play in time

on time

1a : at the appointed time

b : on schedule

2 : on the installment plan

time and again


timed; timing

Definition of time (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to arrange or set the time of : schedule

b : to regulate (a watch) to keep correct time

2 : to set the tempo, speed, or duration of timed his leap perfectly —Neil Amdur

3 : to cause to keep time with something

4 : to determine or record the time, duration, or rate of time a horse

5 : to dispose (something, such as a mechanical part) so that an action occurs at a desired instant or in a desired way

intransitive verb

: to keep or beat time



Definition of time (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : of or relating to time

b : recording time

2 : timed to ignite or explode at a specific moment a time charge

3a : payable on a specified future day or a certain length of time after presentation for acceptance a time draft time deposits

b : based on installment payments a time sale

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Examples of time in a Sentence


The two events were separated by time and space. The poem is a reflection on the passage of time. What was happening at that particular moment in time? It has been that way since the beginning of time. If only I could travel back in time and do things differently. They were given a relatively short amount of time to finish the job. The situation has been getting more complicated as time goes by . happening for an extended period of time Would you prefer the meeting to be at an earlier time? Feel free to call me at any time, day or night.


They timed their vacation to coincide with the jazz festival. He timed it so that he made the shot just before the clock ran out. She timed the shot perfectly. The runners are timed with special watches. He timed the students as they completed their tests.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Everyone over time seems to be siding with the Expos,’’ McDowell said. Phil Rogers, chicagotribune.com, "1993 White Sox reunion: A run to a division title — and memories for a lifetime," 14 July 2018 Fitbit devices only store data for a week unless backed up to a computer, further complicating the ability to consider long term data when trying to assess if an irregular heart rhythm is a consistent problem over time. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Fishers teen discovers she has heart defect after wearing Fitbit," 14 July 2018 On Friday, Mejia spoke out for the first time publicly about his ordeal. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Immigrant dad separated from son in Michigan: 'A pain in my heart'," 14 July 2018 Eddie Rosario had three hits and two RBIs, but the Twins fell for the second time in nine games on their current homestand. Brian Hall, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Tampa Bay Rays turn three-inning outburst into 19-6 win over Minnesota Twins," 14 July 2018 On Saturday, the hat made a special appearance in the public eye when Markle and sister-in-law Kate Middleton stepped out together for the first time at the women’s single final of the Wimbledon Championship. Anna Millard, refinery29.com, "Yes, You've Seen Meghan Markle's Wimbledon Hat Before," 14 July 2018 Reese has been on the national radar for some time and continues to boost her stock at every turn. Katherine Dunn, baltimoresun.com, "After missing cut for U.S. team, St. Frances star Angel Reese plans more hoops, closer look at big offers," 14 July 2018 Ideally, according to the village, Tinley Park would buy the property then immediately sell it to a developer, but the village also is open to options such as selling off pieces of the land over time. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "3 firms compete to develop state-owned site in Tinley Park," 13 July 2018 The timber would have rotted away over time, but the soil would maintain its differences. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "Drought and Drone Reveal ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Signs of Ancient Henge in Ireland," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Stock buybacks appear just as ill-timed now, some analysts and investors say, especially as companies ramp up spending after last year’s $1.5 trillion tax overhaul put extra cash in their coffers. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Stock Buybacks Are Booming, but Share Prices Aren’t Budging," 8 July 2018 At 8:30, a PianFrancisco rep who declined to give his name said there would be a memorial — timed to coincide with other memorials all over the country — to Larry Harvey, the Burning Man founder who had recently died. Leah Garchik, SFChronicle.com, "Wider than a mile, solstice on Bernal," 24 June 2018 The company is planning to do other, similar pop-up camps in the Atacama Desert, the Elqui Valley, and Pucón in coming years, timed to coincide with solar eclipses that will be passing through Chile in both 2019 and 2020. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Tented Camps in Chile: For When You Really, Really Want to Get Away," 13 June 2018 Ultimately, Casler said 2nd Time Around’s upscale pivot was ill-timed. Janelle Nanos, BostonGlobe.com, "The founder of 2nd Time Around tries a 3rd act on Newbury Street," 14 May 2018 The 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation as a state, with which the embassy move was timed to coincide, was another. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Jared Kushner Says Gaza Protesters Are ‘Part of the Problem’," 14 May 2018 Yet the ad was ill-timed, launching just 16 days before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Emily L. Mahoney And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "He's Florida's second most powerful Republican, but he won't run for governor | Miami Herald," 9 May 2018 The production is backed by the California Avocado Commission and timed to coincide with the peak of California’s avocado season. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "Prove Your Dedication to the Avocado at This Pop-Up Museum," 24 Apr. 2018 There’s nothing unusual about a Supreme Court justice timing his or her retirement to ensure an ideologically similar replacement. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Did Anthony Kennedy make a deal with Trump?," 10 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of time


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for time


Middle English, from Old English tīma; akin to Old Norse tīmi time, Old English tīd — more at tide entry 3

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Learn More about time

Dictionary Entries near time





time's up

time about


Statistics for time

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for time

The first known use of time was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for time



English Language Learners Definition of time

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the thing that is measured as seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, etc.

: a particular minute or hour shown by a clock

: the time in a particular area or part of the world



English Language Learners Definition of time (Entry 2 of 2)

: to choose the hour, day, month, etc., when (something) will happen : to schedule (something, such as an event) to happen at a particular time

sports : to cause (something, such as a throw or pass) to happen at a certain moment

: to measure the amount of time needed by someone to do something (such as to finish a race)


\ ˈtīm \

Kids Definition of time

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues We've been friends for a long time. “Then it'll look like it was supposed to be there all the time. —Megan McDonald, Judy Moody

2 : a point or period when something occurs : occasion Remember the time I helped you?

3 : one of a series of repeated instances or actions They visited him many times.

4 : a moment, hour, day, or year as shown by a clock or calendar What time is it?

5 : a set or usual moment or hour for something to occur We arrived on time. It's time to take your medicine.

6 : a historical period : age in ancient times

7 : conditions of a period usually used in pl. hard times

8 times plural : added quantities or examples five times greater

9 : a person's experience during a certain period She had a good time.

10 : a part of the day when a person is free to do as he or she pleases I found time to read.

11 : rate of speed : tempo

12 : a system of determining time solar time

13 : rhythm

at times

: sometimes We were, at times, very happy.

for the time being

: for the present

from time to time

: once in a while

in time

1 : soon enough

2 : as time goes by : eventually The missing items will reappear in time.

3 : at the correct speed in music

time after time

: over and over again

time and again

: over and over again


timed; timing

Kids Definition of time (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to arrange or set the point or rate at which something happens The dryer was timed to run for half an hour.

2 : to measure or record the point at which something happens, the length of the period it takes for something to happen, or the rate at which certain actions take place All the racers were timed.

Other words from time

timer noun


\ ˈtīm \

Medical Definition of time 

1a : the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues — see bleeding time, coagulation time, prothrombin time, reaction time

b : a continuum which lacks spatial dimensions and in which events succeed one another from past through present to future

2 : the point or period when something occurs

3 : a moment, hour, day, or year as indicated by a clock or calendar what time is it

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More from Merriam-Webster on time

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for time

Spanish Central: Translation of time

Nglish: Translation of time for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of time for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about time

Comments on time

What made you want to look up time? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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