Idioms about Time

1. Nine-to-five job
  • A job that you work during the office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nina works a nine-to-five job.

Nine-to-five jobs are boring. I’d rather run my own business.

A nine-to-five job suits you best if you don’t like traveling and adventure.

2. At the eleventh hour
  • Having something happen very late or at the last possible moment.

He always changes his decisions at the eleventh hour.

It’s impossible for me to handle this issue. Please don’t change at the eleventh hour.

The last point was scored at the eleventh hour. How lucky they are!

3. Like clockwork
  • To happen regularly at a scheduled time.

I’m used to this paperwork, so everything goes like clockwork.

As long as things go like clockwork, we’ll finish on time.

Every day at 5 a.m., like clockwork, he goes to the gym. He’s such a healthy man.

4. Time flies.
  • Time passes very quickly.

It’s been seven years since I last saw him. Time flies.

Time flies, girls. Enjoy life while you still can.

I can’t believe that your youngest kid is about 20 now. Time flies.

5. Better late than never.
  • To do something late is better than to never do it at all.

‘His birthday was last week. Would you like to send him something?’ ‘Oh, really? I didn’t know that. I’ll send him a postcard. Better late than never.’

‘Why are you so late? We’ve been waiting for two hours.’ ‘I’m sorry. I got stuck in traffic but better late than never, right?’

I know it’s too late to say sorry but I guess better late than never.

6. In the long (short) run
  • Something will happen over a very long (short) period of time in the future.

Smoking can harm your health. You may run a great risk of lung cancer in the long run.

Investing in networking can benefit you in the long run.

He may feel happy about his new relationship in the short run but I’m sure later on he’ll regret what he’s done to me.

7. Beat the clock
  • To get something done before the deadline, to finish something before time is up.

Hurry up! We can’t be late for this important meeting. We need to beat the clock.

Our new campaign will be launched in 4 days. Let’s beat the clock.

If you want to win the race, you have to beat the clock.

8. Make up for lost time
  • To spend lots of time and effort doing something because you did not have the opportunity to do it before.

We need to work harder to make up for lost time.

I didn’t have time to take care of my family, so I’m certainly making up for lost time.

My grandpa didn’t travel a lot when he was young, so he’s determined to make up for lost time.

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