English Vocabulary – 12 Idioms about Time

Dr. Seuss said:

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flown. How did it get so late so soon?

On the blog today, we will look at 12 idioms about time. Some of them are very well known, others not so much.

Better late than never

This proverb means that it is better to do something late, rather than never do it at all.


Jenny was two hours late to class today, but better late than never I guess.

On the spur of the moment

To do something on the spur of the moment means to do something impulsively, without prior preparation. 


We were having lunch together and just decided on the spur of the moment to go down to the beach for a swim. It was such a beautiful day!

Once in a blue moon

This expression means rarely, not often.


I never eat dairy. Once in a blue moon, I might have a small piece of cheese, that’s it.

Living on borrowed time

If someone is living on borrowed time, they are not expected to live much longer. We can also use this expression when a situation is about to end, such as a job. 


He’s really sick and living on borrowed time.

In the interim

In the interim means in the meantime; in the time between the ending of something and the beginning of something else.


I don’t have to go back to work for several hours, so in the interim I am going to go shopping.

Against the clock

This expression in a race with time; in a great hurry to get something done before a particular time.


I finished my project against the clock; I went to bed at 4am.

All in good time

We use this when we want to refer to some future time; in the near future; in good time; soon.


– Can we go on holiday soon?
– Of course! All in good time.

Big time

This idiom means something is an enjoyable or exciting time, and it can also refer to the highest or most important level in an activity or career. 


David has made it big time; he got signed by a record company!

The time is ripe

If the time is ripe for something, it is a good time to do it or for it to happen.


The time is ripe for me to start studying again: I have the money, the time and the motivation.

Have the time of your life

In latin: Carpe Diem.  In social media speak: YOLO (You only live once). It means to have a fantastic time.


We had the time of our lives when we went to India. It was amazing and we can’t wait to go back!

Time is money

Time is valuable, so don’t waste it.

For example: 

We need to have a meeting with the sales team today, they are taking too long to close the deal and time is money.


  1. thanks for these nice Idioms.may I ask what”you were born so soon” means?

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