\ ˈtīm How to pronounce time (audio) \
plural times

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
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

— see also a race against time, take one's time


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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Synonyms for time

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of time in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 Doe, who was approximately 26 at the time, was a native of Turkey who lived in Broward County, according to the complaint. al, "Lawsuit: Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficked rape victim to a judge," 31 Mar. 2021 Officers are typically retained for two years at a time. USA Today, "The National Guard welcomes and promotes women. That is, until they report a sexual assault.," 31 Mar. 2021 At the time, county spokesperson Cindy Mumby could not name the company because of a non-disclosure agreement signed to protect its negotiating power. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, "Wayfair to bring 250 new jobs over 6 years with distribution center in Harford County," 31 Mar. 2021 At the time of the search, the Department of Children and Families brought a van to take custody of Tayla’s older sister and eight brothers, ages 2 to 14, over the resistance of their parents. Marc Freeman, sun-sentinel.com, "A 7-pound girl starved to death. Now, her dad gets 20 years in prison.," 31 Mar. 2021 Of the five police officers employed at the time of the riot, four have since lost their jobs. Clare Hymes, Cassidy Mcdonald, CBS News, "What we know about the "unprecedented" Capitol riot arrests," 31 Mar. 2021 This is where the script calls for Lillard to fall back on the usual jock clichés about thanking God and taking it one game at a time. New York Times, "We Expect Sports Stars to Be Heroes. What About Our Politicians?," 31 Mar. 2021 Click it, and you’ll be taken to a page with plenty of Amazon devices that are discounted at the time. Maren Estrada, BGR, "5 hidden Amazon pages with amazing deals no one knows about," 31 Mar. 2021 Just half of nearly 1,000 students attend at a time. Lisa Rathke, The Enquirer, "'Weird but cool.' Students return to school, but this time in a former Macys building," 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here's exactly how to time your bathroom breaks, snack refills, and drinking games. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "This Is the Right Way to Watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League," 22 Mar. 2021 Breyer's predecessors have tended to time their retirements so that they can be replaced by justices with similar views of the law. Mark Sherman, Star Tribune, "Breyer mum as some liberals urge him to quit Supreme Court," 18 Mar. 2021 Breyer's predecessors have tended to time their retirements so that they can be replaced by justices with similar views of the law. Mark Sherman, Fortune, "Retire while time is right, liberals urge Supreme Court judge Stephen Breyer," 18 Mar. 2021 An automatic feeder doesn’t necessarily need to time out each meal to be effective; some models are designed to be filled by hand but only activate when the right cat comes along. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "The best automatic cat feeders for your favorite feline," 1 Mar. 2021 Most investors realize trying to time the market by always buying low and selling high isn't a realistic endeavor. Kristin Mckenna, Forbes, "Should I Invest When The Market Is High? Dispelling The Buy Low, Sell High Myth," 5 Mar. 2021 This was a political move—an effort to time the government’s collapse for when the polls looked best for the prime minister. The Economist, "Binyamin Netanyahu faces a challenge from the right," 30 Dec. 2020 Free from his tendency to false step out of a two-point stance, Gregory is able to time up the snap and explode out of his stance in a way that would make even the speedier pass rushers jealous. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: How Cowboys DE Randy Gregory has exceeded all expectations of his NFL return," 2 Dec. 2020 Smart technology in electric toothbrushes is used for adding a range of perks to dental cleaning, the most common of which is the ability to automatically time each two-minute brushing session and notify the user upon completion. Popular Science, "Best electric toothbrush: Five things to consider," 8 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The 7-footer, Orlando's only all-star since 2012 and its sixth multi-time all-star, came into Tuesday averaging a career-best 24.1 points and 11.7 rebounds. John Denton, Star Tribune, "Pistons snap 3-game losing streak with 105-93 win over Magic," 23 Feb. 2021 In hindsight, getting multi-time All Star Russell Westbrook with the fourth overall pick in 2008 is a best-case scenario. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "How might Detroit Pistons' Troy Weaver approach NBA draft? Here are some clues from OKC," 8 Nov. 2020 Bowden is a multi-time cancer survivor, including prostate cancer in 2007 and skin cancer on at least two occasions. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden tests positive for COVID-19," 5 Oct. 2020 Both multi-time LHSAA state champions also won in July at the Deep South Duals in Birmingham, Alabama. Christopher Dabe, NOLA.com, "Revised football schedules: Rummel adds St. Thomas More; another Curtis-Karr clash?," 16 Sep. 2020 Favorites have been defeated in the past five Oaks, with Untapable in 2014 the last post-time choice to win the race. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Gamine the favorite, Swiss Skydiver draws the rail for Friday's showdown in Kentucky Oaks," 31 Aug. 2020 More important than money, a second Indianapolis 500 title in four years will forever define his legacy multi-time 500 champions. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Takuma Sato earns $1,370,500 for Indy 500 win, smallest race purse since 1991 due to pandemic," 25 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for time

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for time

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Time.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/time. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce time (audio) \

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 How to pronounce time (audio) \

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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Comments on time

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