Time Idioms List with Meanings, Examples, & PDFs

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Time Idioms List

Download the Time Idioms List & PDF Worksheets

PDF Time Idioms PDF

View the updated web-version of the time idioms list in the table below.

The idiom worksheets and games are also free to download.

  • Download and print the PDFs.
  • Use the materials for interactive learning activities in class.
  • Students can also complete the worksheets to review or for self-study.

Time Idiom Worksheets for ESL Students

PDF Worksheet A: Defining Idioms & Writing Sentences with Idioms

PDF Worksheet B: Reading Idioms in Context & Describing Meanings

Fun Time Idiom Games for the Classroom

PDF Time Idioms Crossword

PDF Time Idioms BINGO

PDF Time Idioms Checklist (for BINGO)

41 Idioms and Phrases About Time

*Updated: November 2021

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Idiom / PhraseMeaningExample Sentence
a hell of a timea difficult (or exciting) experienceHer grandmother had a hell of a time trying to connect to the internet.
a matter of timewhen something is inevitableIt's only a matter of time until they find a cure for cancer.
a whale of a timean exciting experienceThe family had a whale of a time at the theme park.
about timesaid to convey impatienceI've been waiting for you for an hour. It's about time you arrived!
ahead of timeearlier than the deadlineFinish your work ahead of time so you can enjoy your hobbies.
around the clockwithout stoppingThe pharmacy is open around the clock. It never closes.
beat the clockfinish something before the deadlineThe paperwork was piled high, but she manages to beat the clock and finish it all.
better late than neverdoing something late is better than not doing itYou finally visited the dentist. Better late than never!
bide your timerelax and take your time doing somethingBide your time and take a look through the restaurant menu. There are no other customers.
born yesterdayinexperiencedWere you born yesterday? You have to pay your credit card quickly to avoid serious debt.
borrowed timean uncertain length of time that may end suddenlyEveryone is living off of borrowed time. Enjoy every day as if it is your last.
call it a dayfinish workLet's call it a day. It's time to go home.
catch you latersee you laterI have to go home now. Catch you later!
crunch timea critical periodCrunch time in most sports comes down to the final few minutes of a game.
do timego to prisonFranky has to do time for all those crimes that he was convicted of.
down timerelaxing timeYou need to have some down time after a long day at work.
every dog has its dayeveryone has success eventuallyKeep shooting and you will score. Every dog has its day.
get with the timesto get up-to-date with the modern eraTime to get with the times and buy an electric car.
give a hard timetease or bother someoneStop giving your little brother a hard time and help him with his homework.
high timethe right time to accomplish somethingIt's high time to solve this budget problem.
in no timevery quicklyIt's so easy. I will be finished the assignment in no time.
in the long runin the long termShe hates doing homework but in the long run it will make her successful.
in the nick of timejust in timeHe caught the train in the nick of time just before it departed.
kill timepass time aimlesslyMost people kill time by swiping through their iPhone apps.
make up for lost timeto catch up with something after disregarding it for a long timeLet's make up for lost time and hang out all week.
on my watchduring my time on dutyI told the workers that they couldn't sleep on my watch. They can sleep when they get home.
pressed for timehaving limited time availableThe doctor was really pressed for time, so he misdiagnosed the illness.
put on icepostponeLet's put this problem on ice and get back to it tomorrow.
question of timean inevitability or eventualityIt's only a question of time until all cars drive themselves.
serve timespend time in prisonChuck served time in prison so it is difficult for him to get hired.
ship has saileda lost opportunityJack was thinking of marrying Jane but that ship has sailed. She married Zack instead.
the big timea situation involving fame or successThe actress was ready for the big time when she was nominated for the award.
the eleventh hourlast chance to do somethingJust before the deadline, the student submitted the assignment at the eleventh hour.
third time's a charmthe third time is usually successfulI tried unlocking the door twice already. I hope the third time's a charm.
time fliestime goes very fastOur vacation is over already? Time flies!
time is moneytime is valuableWe can't wait here all day. Time is money!
time of your lifean enjoyable time of your lifeDid you have the time of your life when you were a teenager?
time to runtime to leaveIt's time to run. I need to go an pick up my kids from school.
time will tellthe outcome will soon be knownOnly time will tell what happens to the human race.
two-timecheat or betrayHis girlfriend was two-timing him by sleeping with the plumber.
until the cows come homefor a long timeShe can watch Netflix until the cows come home.

Extra Examples of Time Idioms in Use

Do you want to read more examples and sentences with time idioms?

Try entering the expressions in a corpus database or language app.

We highly recommend the following corpus resources and tools:

Watch on YouTube: Time Idioms and Expressions in English

View more Idioms and Phrases on ESL Expat

View the complete list of English idioms and phrases.