20 English Phrases with the Word TIME

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ahead of one’s time = having ideas or attitudes that are too advanced for the culture/society at the moment

My grandmother was ahead of her time – she opened her own company in an era when there were few women in the business world.

behind the times = old-fashioned, not keeping up with current developments

Bob is a bit behind the times – he doesn’t know how to use a computer, much less a smartphone!

a race against time = a situation when you need to rush to do something before the deadline (time limit)

The last day for submitting project proposals is one week from today – so now it’s a race against time.

20 English Phrases with the Word TIME Espresso English

in the nick of time = at the last moment before it’s too late.

We got to the airport in the nick of time – if we’d arrived 15 minutes later, we would’ve missed our flight.

have the time of your life = have a super wonderful experience

My kids had the time of their lives at Disney World.

have a devil/hell of a time = a very difficult experience

I’m having a devil of a time trying to install this software – every time I try, I get a different error message.

20 English Phrases with the Word TIME Espresso English

bide your time until = wait patiently for a good opportunity

He was just biding his time until he got a chance to work at his dream job.

catch at a bad time = attempt to speak to someone in a moment that is inconvenient for him/her

Hi Peter! You caught me at a bad time – I’m about to go into a meeting. Could I call you back in an hour?

have a lot of time on your hands = have a lot of free time (maybe too much)

That guy completely covered the walls of his room with colored pencil drawings. He must have a lot of time on his hands!

all in good time = it will happen when the time is right, so be patient

“Why is it taking so long for my career to take off??”
All in good time… just keep working hard and you’ll make it.”

only a matter of time = it will definitely happen sooner or later

The company has lost money for the third year in a row; it’s only a matter of time before it goes bankrupt.

time will tell = the passing of time will show the result, whether good or bad

“I was surprised that Bill and Jackie got married. Do you think they’ll be happy together?”

“Only time will tell.

stand the test of time = last for a long time and continue to be successful

This is a classic work of literature. It has stood the test of time.

the time is ripe = it is the best time to do something

Real estate prices are low, and we have a lot of money saved up – I think the time is ripe for us to buy a house.

20 English Phrases with the Word TIME Espresso English

Ripe fruit is at the perfect moment to eat!

two-time = deceive, betray, or cheat someone

You two-timing bastard! You’ve been seeing another woman for the entire time we’ve been engaged!

the big time = the highest or most profitable level

She made it to the big time with the launch of her latest novel – it sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the first week.

time flies = time passes very quickly

Your son is already 12 years old? I remember when he was a baby! How time flies


Another expression: “Time flies when you’re having fun” – Time passes more quickly when you’re doing something you enjoy

20 English Phrases with the Word TIME Espresso English

time heals all wounds = the passing of time makes emotional injuries get better

Right now she’s very upset that her boyfriend broke up with her, but you know what they say: Time heals all wounds.

time is of the essence = correct timing is very important (often used for things that are urgent)

In order to meet the deadline, you need to send us the contract by Monday – time is of the essence.

third time’s the charm = the third time you try something, it will work (when the previous two attempts have failed)

I’ve called her twice, but she hasn’t answered. Let me try again – the third time’s the charm.

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