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 English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 

TIME, page 4

Idioms relating to Time
  from:   'in the nick of time'   to:   'until hell freezes over'

  • in the nick of time
    • If something happens in the nick of time, it happens at the last minute, when it is nearly too late.
      "The child was standing in front of the open window. His mother caught him in the nick of time."

  • play for time
    • If you play for time, you try to delay or prevent something from happening in order to gain an advantage.
      "He decided to play for time in the hope that the price would decrease."

  • pressed for time
    • If you are pressed for time, you have hardly enough time to do something, so you must hurry.
      "Sorry, I can't talk to you now. I'm a bit pressed for time."

  • since time immemorial
    • If something has existed since time immemorial, it has been there for such a long time that nobody can recall a time without it.
      "I don't know when that bridge was built. It's been there since time immemorial."

  • stand the test of time
    • If something stands the test of time, people continue to find it valuable or useful after many years.
      "The teaching method has stood the test of time. It is still used in schools today."

  • stuck in a time warp
    • Something that has not changed at all from some time in the past, when everything else has, is caught or stuck in a time warp.
      "This place seem to be stuck in a time warp. It's exactly as it was in the 1950's."

  • a race against time
    • When someone is in , they have to work very quickly in order to do or finish something before a certain time.
      "It was a race against time to get everything ready for the inauguration."

  • shelf life
    • If something such as food, drink or medicine has a particular shelf life, it must be used or sold before the end of that period of time.
      "Dairy products have quite a short shelf life."

  • that ship has sailed
    • The expression 'that ship has sailed' means that a particular opportunity has passed by and now it's too late.
      "Is the offer still open?'  'Sorry, that ship has sailed - you missed your chance!'"

  • a sign of the times
    • This expression refers to something that shows the nature of today's society.
      "The rising level of violence is a sign of the times."

  • the small hours
    • The term 'the small hours' means after midnight or the very early hours of the day.
      "Sarah worked until the small hours on her speech for the ceremony."

  • until hell freezes over
    • If you tell someone that they can do something until hell freezes over, you mean that they can do it for a very long time but they won't obtain what they want.
      "You can ask until hell freezes over; I will not allow you to go bungee-jumping!"

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