\ ˈtīm How to pronounce time (audio) \

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 timeabout 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 pluraltimes are hardmove with the times
d : the present time issues of the time
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


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 However, a record gender gap predicted ahead of the election largely failed to materialize, despite the challenges Trump has faced garnering support among women voters over his time in office. NBC News, "This is how women voters decided the 2020 election," 13 Nov. 2020 Jackson does an excellent job in piecing together their story to depict the deprivations of their time in jail. Michael Magras, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Paper Bullets,' by Jeffrey H. Jackson," 13 Nov. 2020 Clearly, Camila's cashed a lot of checks in her short time in the spotlight. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Camila Cabello's Net Worth Is High Enough For Endless Trips to "Havana"," 13 Nov. 2020 There were moments of compassion, bravery, and grit -- bringing light and hope to one of the most challenging years of our time. CNN, "These are some of this year's Most Inspiring Moments. Which one moves you most?," 13 Nov. 2020 According to Garner, the owners, who split their time between Texas and Southern California, wanted there to be enough room so that one person could easily pass another without having to squeeze by. Richard A. Marini, ExpressNews.com, "Modern Texas Hill Country home in Cordillera Ranch captures spectacular views from every room," 13 Nov. 2020 Welser-Most and the strings basked in what is truly a work for them and of its time, a brilliant study in angst and dissonance straight from the eve of war in 1939. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra shines in Haydn, Bartok on third ‘In Focus’ series episode: Review," 13 Nov. 2020 During his time at Kentucky, the 20-year-old shot nearly 40% from three (including 42.8% as a sophomore) and 90% from the foul line, signaling he’ll be primed to maintain the consistency and ability at the NBA level. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "5 NBA draft prospects Mavs should consider in second round: Another European complement to Luka Doncic?," 13 Nov. 2020 During his time in office, Rose took up a number of causes but wasn't afraid to call out his Democratic colleagues. Sam Dorman, Fox News, "Max Rose, moderate Democrat, concedes to Republican challenger in NY's 11th district," 12 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gilson tried to time her burst to the finish line, but Hartman was able to match her. cleveland, "Hawken’s Ella Gilson denied third Div. II girls cross country state title by inches to Oakwood’s Grace Hartman," 7 Nov. 2020 Don’t try to time the mortgage market based on the expected election results. Holden Lewis, Star Tribune, "For November mortgage rates, the picture is hazy," 7 Nov. 2020 Trying to time your investments around an election or other events can be a fool’s errand. orlandosentinel.com, "Invest with long-term goals in mind, not election," 15 Oct. 2020 Successful retail traders know their limits—trying to time the markets and buy and sell stocks for a profit is out for the amateur. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "How no-fee stock trading is changing the stock market," 22 Sep. 2020 Different tissues may use different subsets of the set of potential clocks that help time their development. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "When building an embryo, timing is everything," 19 Sep. 2020 Messages may begin sending slowly or even time out. Brian X. Chen, New York Times, "What Is Happening With TikTok and WeChat as Trump Tries to Ban Them?," 18 Sep. 2020 The change in certain colors can be used to time one's heartbeat. Natasha Chen, CNN, "Alabama State University has installed scanning machines to detect Covid-19 symptoms," 1 Sep. 2020 If the buy-and-hold strategy has been a lucrative one over the decades, the strategy of trying to time the markets has been full of peril. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Buffett’s big bet on Japan sends global stocks higher," 31 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Time.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/time. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for time


How to pronounce time (audio)

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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