against the clock
If you do something against the clock, you are rushed and have very little time to do it.
“They are working against the clock to have the presentation ready for Monday.”
on the cusp
On the cusp refers to a point in time that marks a transition or the beginning of a change.
“Some people think the world is on the cusp of a new era.”
If something has existed or been somewhere all along, it has been there all the time, from the beginning.
“I had been looking for my keys for some time before I realized they had been in my pocket all along.”
better late than never
When someone does something late, this remark means that it is better to do it late than not do it at all.
“Do you know what time it is? You promised you’d come early to help me – but better late than never I suppose!”
in the blink of an eye
If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens nearly instantaneously, with hardly enough time to notice it.
“The pickpocket disappeared in the blink of an eye.”
If something happens or develops by degrees, it happens gradually or little by little as time goes by.
“By degrees their business relationship grew into friendship.”
When you clock in or out, you record the time you arrive or leave your job by punching a time clock to the show the number of hours you have worked.
“I’m going to clock out early today. I’ve got a dental appointment”
cut it fine / cut things fine
If you cut it/cut things fine, you leave barely enough time to do something.
“You’re counting just an hour between the airport and the train station – isn’t that cutting things a bit fine?”
(a) date late and a dollar short
If something is a day late and a dollar short, it comes too late and is not good enough.
“They offered me an internship when I had already found a job – a day late and a dollar short!”
(for) donkey’s years
If someone has been doing something for donkey’s years, they have been doing it for a very long time.
“He knows the town inside out. He’s been living here for donkey’s years.”
down to the wire
If something such as project or a match goes down to the wire, the situation can change up until the last possible moment.
“There’s nothing as exciting as watching a game that goes down to the wire.”
at the eleventh hour
If something happens at the eleventh hour, it happens when it is almost too late, or at the last possible moment.
“Our team won after they scored a goal at the eleventh hour.”
five o’clock shadow
This expression refers to a patch of stubble on the face of a man who hasn’t shaved for at least a day.
“He looked tired and had a five o’clock shadow.”
in the interim
Something that happens in the interim takes place during a period of time between two events.
“I won’t have the apartment until next month. In the interim I’m staying at a local hotel.”
in the long run
The term ‘in the long run’ refers to something that will have effect over or after a long period of time.
“Learning Chinese is going to be difficult, but it’ll be worth it in the long run because it will help me to get a better job.”
in your own sweet time
If you do something in your own sweet time, you take as long as you please to do it, in spite of the wishes of others.
“OK, I’ll do it – but in my own sweet time!”
just around the corner
If something is just around the corner, it will happen very soon.
“With spring just around the corner, the new collection should begin to sell.”
the moment of truth
A critical or decisive time when you face the reality of a situation, and find out if your efforts have succeeded, is called the moment of truth.
“The moment of truth has arrived – I’m going to serve my first soufflé!”
in a month of Sundays
This expression is an amusing way of referring to a very long period of time.
“I haven’t been to the theatre in a month of Sundays.”
never in a million years
This expression means ‘absolutely never’.
“I will never in a million years understand why Anne married Bob.”
once in a blue moon
If something occurs once in a blue moon, it happens very rarely.
“Bill has very little contact with his brother. They see each other once in a blue moon.”
time after time
If you do somethingtime after time, you do it repeatedly or on many occasions.
“He was surprised when the teacher punished him although he had been warned time after time.”
This expression is used to express surprise at how fast time passes (usually in a very active or happy situation).
“It’s hard to believe we’ve been living here two years already. Time flies!”
time on your hands
If you have time on your hands, you have a lot of free time, usually more than you need or want.
“Since he retired, Bill has too much time on his hands. He should take up a hobby.”
have the time of your life
If you have the time of our life, you enjoy yourself very much.
“The kids had the time of their lives at Disneyland.”
time on your side
If you have time on your side, you can afford to wait before doing or achieving something.
“He didn’t succeed this time, but he’s young enough to try again. He’s got time on his side.”
the time is ripe
If the time is ripe for something, it is the right moment to do it.
“He sold his business when the time was ripe.”
time is ticking away
The expression ‘time is ticking away’ can be used when you see the minutes or seconds going by as the clock ticks, especially when you are waiting anxiously for something to happen.
“We need to intervene before it’s too late. Time’s ticking away.”
a time-honoured practice
A custom that is universally respected, or a traditional way of doing something, is called a time-honoured practice.
“Guests were greeted according to a time-honored practice.”
for the time being
If you talk about how a situation is for the time being, you mean that it is temporary and will probably change in the future.
“Laura has left John and is living with her parents for the time being.”
living on borrowed time
This expression refers to a period of time after an illness or accident which could have caused death.
“After heart surgery, many patients feel that they’re living on borrowed time.”
lose track of time
When you give all your attention to something and become so engrossed in it that you don’t realize what time it is, you lose track of time.
“Whenever I start surfing on the web, I lose track of time.”
make up for lost time
If you make up for lost time, you increase your efforts or work harder to complete something or meet a deadline.
“Progress has stopped because of bad weather, but we are determined to make up for lost time.”
only/just a matter of time
If you say that it is only or just a matter of time before (or until) something happens, it is certain to happen or will inevitably take place, although you do not know when.
“Restrictive measures will have to be introduced. It’s just a matter of time.”
in the nick of time
If something happens in the nick of time, it happens at the last minute, when it is nearly too late.
“The child was standing in front of the open window. His mother caught him in the nick of time.”
play for time
If you play for time, you try to delay or prevent something from happening in order to gain an advantage.
“He decided to play for time in the hope that the price would decrease.”
pressed for time
If you are pressed for time, you have hardly enough time to do something, so you must hurry.
“Sorry, I can’t talk to you now. I’m a bit pressed for time.”
since time immemorial
If something has existed since time immemorial, it has been there for such a long time that nobody can recall a time without it.
“I don’t know when that bridge was built. It’s been there since time immemorial.”
stand the test of time
If something stands the test of time, people continue to find it valuable or useful after many years.
“The teaching method has stood the test of time. It is still used in schools today.”
stuck in a time warp
Something that has not changed at all from some time in the past, when everything else has, is caught or stuck in a time warp.
“This place seem to be stuck in a time warp. It’s exactly as it was in the 1950’s.”
a race against time
When someone is in a race against time, they have to work very quickly in order to do or finish something before a certain time.
“It was a race against time to get everything ready for the inauguration.”
If something such as food, drink or medicine has a particular shelf life, it must be used or sold before the end of that period of time.
“Dairy products have quite a short shelf life.”
that ship has sailed
The expression ‘that ship has sailed’ means that a particular opportunity has passed by and now it’s too late.
“Is the offer still open?’ ‘Sorry, that ship has sailed – you missed your chance!'”
a sign of the times
This expression refers to something that shows the nature of today’s society.
“The rising level of violence is a sign of the times.”
the small hours
The term ‘the small hours’ means after midnight or the very early hours of the day.
“Sarah worked until the small hours on her speech for the ceremony.”
until hell freezes over
If you tell someone that they can do something until hell freezes over, you mean that they can do it for a very long time but they won’t obtain what they want.
“You can ask until hell freezes over; I will not allow you to go bungee-jumping!”