English expressions about time

* This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

The time is here! Set your clock and get ready! Today’s post is about expressions and idioms related to TIME. The following list contains some of the most commonly used English expressions regarding the passing of time with explanations and examples to make them clearer.

AGAINST THE CLOCK– in a hurry or with very little time.
They are working against the clock to have the house ready for the guests arriving Saturday.

A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT– something that comes too late and isn’t worthwhile economically.
Yesterday we bought a used car after searching for weeks. Then today my uncle said we could have had his, but that it needs repairs. A day late and a dollar short!

AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR– something that happens at the last minute, almost at the end.
The opposing team scored a goal at the eleventh hour and won the game!

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER– it is better to do or have something late than not at all.
We wanted to give her the birthday present at her party but it wasn’t delivered until 3 days later. Well, better late than never!

DONKEY’S YEARS– for a very long time.
He’s been living in Spain for donkey’s years! It must be 30 years now!

FIVE O’CLOCK SHADOW– the start of a beard on a man’s face.
When he got home from work he had a five o’clock shadow.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE– very quickly.
The accident happened in the blink of an eye.

IN THE LONG RUN– after a long period of time.
She is very upset about them splitting up but in the long run I think she’ll be happier with someone else.

IN MY OWN SWEET TIME– in a relaxed way, taking as much time I want.
Okay, I will paint the house- but in my own sweet time.

LOSE TRACK OF TIME– concentrate on something and not realize how late it is.
We lost track of time at the amusement park and suddenly it was about to close.

MONTH OF SUNDAYS– a very long time.
I haven’t been to the beach in a month of Sundays.

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON– very rarely, not often.
– How often do you go jogging?
– Almost never. Once in a blue moon I get motivated and go out for a run.

TIME ON YOUR HANDS– to have a lot of free time, almost too much.
During summer vacation the children have too much time on their hands. They need to find hobbies.

I studied Marketing but for the time being I’m working as a waitress.

NICK OF TIME– just in time, at the very last minute.
We caught the flight in the nick of time.

PRESSED FOR TIME– when you don’t have enough time to do something, in a hurry.
Sorry, I can’t talk right now, I’m working on my presentation and I’m pressed for time!

SMALL HOURS– the hours after midnight.
She had to study into the small hours for her exam.

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* This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)