Behind the times

the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.
duration regarded as belonging to the present life as distinct from the life to come or from eternity; finite duration.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a system or method of measuring or reckoning the passage of time:
mean time; apparent time; Greenwich Time.
a limited period or interval, as between two successive events:
a long time.
a particular period considered as distinct from other periods:
Youth is the best time of life.
Often, times.

a period in the history of the world, or contemporary with the life or activities of a notable person:
prehistoric times; in Lincoln’s time.
the period or era now or previously present:
a sign of the times; How times have changed!
a period considered with reference to its events or prevailing conditions, tendencies, ideas, etc.:
hard times; a time of war.

a prescribed or allotted period, as of one’s life, for payment of a debt, etc.
the end of a prescribed or allotted period, as of one’s life or a pregnancy:
His time had come, but there was no one left to mourn over him. When her time came, her husband accompanied her to the delivery room.
a period with reference to personal experience of a specified kind:
to have a good time; a hot time in the old town tonight.
a period of work of an employee, or the pay for it; working hours or days or an hourly or daily pay rate.
Informal. a term of enforced duty or imprisonment:
to serve time in the army; do time in prison.
the period necessary for or occupied by something:
The time of the baseball game was two hours and two minutes. The bus takes too much time, so I’ll take a plane.
leisure time; sufficient or spare time:
to have time for a vacation; I have no time to stop now.
a particular or definite point in time, as indicated by a clock:
What time is it?
a particular part of a year, day, etc.; season or period:
It’s time for lunch.
an appointed, fit, due, or proper instant or period:
a time for sowing; the time when the sun crosses the meridian; There is a time for everything.
the particular point in time when an event is scheduled to take place:
train time; curtain time.
an indefinite, frequently prolonged period or duration in the future:
Time will tell if what we have done here today was right.
the right occasion or opportunity:
to watch one’s time.
each occasion of a recurring action or event:
to do a thing five times; It’s the pitcher’s time at bat.
times, used as a multiplicative word in phrasal combinations expressing how many instances of a quantity or factor are taken together:
Two goes into six three times; five times faster.
Drama. one of the three unities.
Compare unity (def 8).
Prosody. a unit or a group of units in the measurement of meter.

tempo; relative rapidity of movement.
the metrical duration of a note or rest.
proper or characteristic tempo.
the general movement of a particular kind of musical composition with reference to its rhythm, metrical structure, and tempo.
the movement of a dance or the like to music so arranged:
waltz time.

Military. rate of marching, calculated on the number of paces taken per minute:
double time; quick time.
Manège. each completed action or movement of the horse.
of, relating to, or showing the passage of time.
(of an explosive device) containing a clock so that it will detonate at the desired moment:
a time bomb.
Commerce. payable at a stated period of time after presentment:
time drafts or notes.
of or relating to purchases on the installment plan, or with payment postponed.
to measure or record the speed, duration, or rate of:
to time a race.
to fix the duration of:
The proctor timed the test at 15 minutes.
to fix the interval between (actions, events, etc.):
They timed their strokes at six per minute.
to regulate (a train, clock, etc.) as to time.
to appoint or choose the moment or occasion for; schedule:
He timed the attack perfectly.
to keep time; sound or move in unison.
against time, in an effort to finish something within a limited period:
We worked against time to get out the newspaper.
ahead of time, before the time due; early:
The building was completed ahead of time.
at one time,

once; in a former time:
At one time they owned a restaurant.
at the same time; at once:
They all tried to talk at one time.

at the same time, nevertheless; yet:
I’d like to try it, but at the same time I’m a little afraid.
at times, at intervals; occasionally:
At times the city becomes intolerable.
beat someone’s time, Slang. to compete for or win a person being dated or courted by another; prevail over a rival:
He accused me, his own brother, of trying to beat his time.
behind the times, old-fashioned; dated:
These attitudes are behind the times.
for the time being, temporarily; for the present:
Let’s forget about it for the time being.
from time to time, on occasion; occasionally; at intervals:
She comes to see us from time to time.
gain time, to postpone in order to make preparations or gain an advantage; delay the outcome of:
He hoped to gain time by putting off signing the papers for a few days more.
in good time,

at the right time; on time; punctually.
in advance of the right time; early:
We arrived at the appointed spot in good time.

in no time, in a very brief time; almost at once:
Working together, they cleaned the entire house in no time.
in time,

early enough:
to come in time for dinner.
in the future; eventually:
In time he’ll see what is right.
in the correct rhythm or tempo:
There would always be at least one child who couldn’t play in time with the music.

keep time,

to record time, as a watch or clock does.
to mark or observe the tempo.
to perform rhythmic movements in unison.

kill time, to occupy oneself with some activity to make time pass quickly:
While I was waiting, I killed time counting the cars on the freight trains.
make time,

to move quickly, especially in an attempt to recover lost time.
to travel at a particular speed.

make time with, Slang. to pursue or take as a sexual partner.
many a time, again and again; frequently:
Many a time they didn’t have enough to eat and went to bed hungry.
mark time,

to suspend progress temporarily, as to await developments; fail to advance.
Military. to move the feet alternately as in marching, but without advancing.

on one’s own time, during one’s free time; without payment:
He worked out more efficient production methods on his own time.
on time,

at the specified time; punctually.
to be paid for within a designated period of time, as in installments:
Many people are never out of debt because they buy everything on time.

out of time, not in the proper rhythm:
His singing was out of time with the music.
pass the time of day, to converse briefly with or greet someone:
The women would stop in the market to pass the time of day.
take one’s time, to be slow or leisurely; dawdle:
Speed was important here, but he just took his time.
time after time, again and again; repeatedly; often:
I’ve told him time after time not to slam the door.
time and time again, repeatedly; often:
Time and time again I warned her to stop smoking.
Also, time and again.
time of life, (one’s) age:
At your time of life you must be careful not to overdo things.
time of one’s life, Informal. an extremely enjoyable experience:
They had the time of their lives on their trip to Europe.

the continuous passage of existence in which events pass from a state of potentiality in the future, through the present, to a state of finality in the past
(as modifier): time travel, related adjective temporal

(physics) a quantity measuring duration, usually with reference to a periodic process such as the rotation of the earth or the vibration of electromagnetic radiation emitted from certain atoms. In classical mechanics, time is absolute in the sense that the time of an event is independent of the observer. According to the theory of relativity it depends on the observer’s frame of reference. Time is considered as a fourth coordinate required, along with three spatial coordinates, to specify an event See caesium clock, second2 (sense 1), space-time
a specific point on this continuum expressed in terms of hours and minutes: the time is four o’clock
a system of reckoning for expressing time: Greenwich mean time

a definite and measurable portion of this continuum
(as modifier): time limit

an accepted period such as a day, season, etc
(in combination): springtime

an unspecified interval; a while: I was there for a time
(often pl) a period or point marked by specific attributes or events: the Victorian times, time for breakfast
a sufficient interval or period: have you got time to help me?
an instance or occasion: I called you three times
an occasion or period of specified quality: have a good time, a miserable time
the duration of human existence
the heyday of human life: in her time she was a great star
a suitable period or moment: it’s time I told you
the expected interval in which something is done: the flying time from New York to London was seven hours
a particularly important moment, esp childbirth or death: her time had come
(pl) indicating a degree or amount calculated by multiplication with the number specified: ten times three is thirty, he earns four times as much as me
(often pl) the fashions, thought, etc, of the present age (esp in the phrases ahead of one’s time, behind the times)
(Brit) (in bars, pubs, etc) short for closing time
(informal) a term in jail (esp in the phrase do time)

a customary or full period of work
the rate of pay for this period

Also (esp US) metre

the system of combining beats or pulses in music into successive groupings by which the rhythm of the music is established
a specific system having a specific number of beats in each grouping or bar: duple time

(music) short for time value
(prosody) a unit of duration used in the measurement of poetic metre; mora
against time, in an effort to complete something in a limited period
ahead of time, before the deadline
all in good time, in due course
all the time, continuously
at one time

once; formerly

at the same time

nevertheless; however

at times, sometimes
beat time, (of a conductor, etc) to indicate the tempo or pulse of a piece of music by waving a baton or a hand, tapping out the beats, etc
before one’s time, prematurely
for the time being, for the moment; temporarily
from time to time, at intervals; occasionally
gain time, See gain1 (sense 9)
have no time for, to have no patience with; not tolerate
in good time


in no time, very quickly; almost instantaneously
in one’s own time

outside paid working hours
at one’s own rate

in time

early or at the appointed time
(music) at a correct metrical or rhythmic pulse

keep time, to observe correctly the accent or rhythmic pulse of a piece of music in relation to tempo
lose time, (of a timepiece) to operate too slowly
lose no time, to do something without delay
make time

to find an opportunity
(often foll by with) (US, informal) to succeed in seducing

See mark1 (sense 35)
in the nick of time, at the last possible moment; at the critical moment
on time

at the expected or scheduled time
(US) payable in instalments

pass the time of day, to exchange casual greetings (with an acquaintance)
(Scot) time about, alternately; turn and turn about
time and again, frequently
time off, a period when one is absent from work for a holiday, through sickness, etc
(Austral) time on, an additional period played at the end of a match, to compensate for time lost through injury or (in certain circumstances) to allow the teams to achieve a conclusive result Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) extra time
time out of mind, from time immemorial
time of one’s life, a memorably enjoyable time
(modifier) operating automatically at or for a set time, for security or convenience: time lock, time switch
verb (transitive)
to ascertain or calculate the duration or speed of
to set a time for
to adjust to keep accurate time
to pick a suitable time for
(sport) to control the execution or speed of (an action, esp a shot or stroke) so that it has its full effect at the right moment
the word called out by a publican signalling that it is closing time

to have a good time ( = a time of enjoyment) was common in Eng. from c 1520 to c 1688; it was app. retained in America, whence readopted in Britain in 19th c. [OED]

Time of day (now mainly preserved in negation, i.e. what someone won’t give you if he doesn’t like you) was a popular 17c. salutation (e.g. “Good time of day vnto your Royall Grace,” “Richard III,” I.iii.18). Times as the name of a newspaper dates from 1788. Time warp first attested 1954; time capsule first recorded 1938, in reference to New York World’s Fair; time-traveling in the science fiction sense first recorded 1895 in H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” To do time “serve a prison sentence” is from 1865. Time frame is attested by 1964; time line (also timeline) by 1890; time-limit is from 1880. About time, ironically for “long past due time,” is recorded from 1920. Behind the times “old-fashioned” is recorded from 1846, first attested in Dickens.


Not keeping up with current fashion, methods, or ideas, as in Your accounting methods are behind the times. Charles Dickens used this idiom in Dombey and Son (1848): “I’m old-fashioned, and behind the Time.” [ Mid-1800s ]

time after time
time and a half
time and tide wait for no man
time bomb
time flies
time hangs heavy
time immemorial
time is money
time is ripe
time is up
time of day
time of one’s life
time off
time on one’s hands
time out
time out of mind
time warp
time was
time will tell


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