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English Idioms and Sayings

Idioms and Sayings about Time


Idiom/Saying Explanation

cockcrow

For example:-

Firoozeh gets up at cockcrow.

The very beginning of daylight (dawn).

The crack of dawn.

For example:-

I used to have to get up at the crack of dawn, but nowadays I don't have to.

The very beginning of daylight (dawn).

On the dot.

For example:-

On New Year's Eve we always open the champagne on the dot of midnight.

At a precise time.

Overtime

For example:-

I told my boss I would do any overtime, I want to save up for my holiday.

The time we work in addition to what is normal. Overtime is either paid, or unpaid.

To not give someone the time of day.

For example:-

I don't know why you spend so much time with him. I wouldn't even give him the time of day.

To refuse to speak to someone because you do not like them or because you think you are better than them.

To pass the time of day.

For example:-

It's important to pass the time of day with your colleagues.

To have a short conversation with someone about things which are not important

The early bird catches the worm.

For example:-

"I'll go to work early tomorrow. After all, the early bird catches the worm."

If you do something in a timely manner you will succeed.

A stitch in time saves nine.

For example:-

You need to get the leak fixed before it gets bigger. A stitch in time saves nine.

If you fix a small problem right away, it will not become a bigger problem later.

Just in time (JIT)

For example:-

The factory has implemented a new JIT strategy. All inventory must be reduced.

A production strategy that strives to improve a business return on investment (ROI) by reducing inventory and associated carrying costs.

Full-time

For example:-

My niece went back to full-time work 3 months after having her first baby.

The whole of someone's available working time, typically 40 hours in a week,

Part-time

For example:-

There are more part-time jobs nowadays.

Employment with fewer hours per week than a full-time job. 

To be on time.

For example:-

We managed to finish the project on time.

If you're on time you arrive or do something before or by a stated time

To buy time.

For example:-

The policeman tried to reason with him in order to buy time until backup arrived,

To postpone an event hoping that the situation will improve.

To call time.

For example:-

We had to drink up when he called time.

What happens when a publican signals that it is closing time at the pub.

To do time.

For example:-

It's hard for people who have done time to get a job.

To be imprisoned.

To give someone a hard time.

For example:-

I always give my students a hard time if they haven't done their homework.

To criticize someone and make them feel guilty about something that they have (or haven't) done.

To have the time of your life.

For example:-

I had the time of my life at the party.

To enjoy yourself - a lot.

To not give someone the time of day.

For example:-

I don't know why you spend so much time with him. I wouldn't even give him the time of day.

To refuse to speak to someone because you do not like them or because you think you are better than them.

To pass the time of day.

For example:-

It's important to pass the time of day with your colleagues.

To have a short conversation with someone about things which are not important

To run out of time.

For example:-

I ran out of time before I could finish the exam.

To have no time left.

The time is ripe.

For example:-

The people decided the time was ripe for a revolution.

A good time to do something or for something to happen.

Take your time.

For example:-

I decided not to rush, so I took my time and made sure the job was done properly.

To not rush.

Time in lieu

For example:-

I worked two bank holidays, and I got two days off in lieu, but I would have preferred the cash.

Time off instead of, or in addition to, receiving pay for overtime worked or working on public or bank holidays. 

Time off.

For example:-

I decided to take some time off to visit my family.

To have a period of time free from employment

Time out.

For example:-

You've been on that computer for hours. Time out!

Sometimes used to break up a fight.

For example:-

The moderator called time out, when he saw the argument was getting out of hand.

Time when you rest away from your usual work or studies.

(Not to be confused with "out of time".)

Time's up.

For example:-

The game finished because my time was up and I needed to pay to play on.

Used to show an activity is finished.

9-5

For example:-

She has a 9-5 job, but she never complains.

A conventional and possibly tedious job.

From the cradle to the grave.

For example:-

The National Health Service (NHS) has two guiding principles. Firstly, that such a service should be comprehensive, with all citizens receiving all the advice, treatment and care they needed, combined with the best medical and other facilities available. Secondly, that the service should be free to the public at the point of use, from the cradle to the grave.

The whole of your life.
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