AskDefine | Define time

Dictionary Definition



1 an instance or single occasion for some event; "this time he succeeded"; "he called four times"; "he could do ten at a clip" [syn: clip]
2 an indefinite period (usually marked by specific attributes or activities); "he waited a long time"; "the time of year for planting"; "he was a great actor is his time"
3 a period of time considered as a resource under your control and sufficient to accomplish something; "take time to smell the roses"; "I didn't have time to finish"; "it took more than half my time"
4 a suitable moment; "it is time to go"
5 the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past
6 the time as given by a clock; "do you know what time it is?"; "the time is 10 o'clock" [syn: clock time]
7 the fourth coordinate that is required (along with three spatial dimensions) to specify a physical event [syn: fourth dimension]
8 a person's experience on a particular occasion; "he had a time holding back the tears"; "they had a good time together"
9 rhythm as given by division into parts of equal time [syn: meter, metre]
10 the period of time a prisoner is imprisoned; "he served a prison term of 15 months"; "his sentence was 5 to 10 years"; "he is doing time in the county jail" [syn: prison term, sentence]


1 measure the time or duration of an event or action or the person who performs an action in a certain period of time; "he clocked the runners" [syn: clock]
2 assign a time for an activity or event; "The candidate carefully timed his appearance at the disaster scene"
3 set the speed, duration, or execution of; "we time the process to manufacture our cars very precisely"
4 regulate or set the time of; "time the clock"
5 adjust so that a force is applied an an action occurs at the desired time; "The good player times his swing so as to hit the ball squarely"

User Contributed Dictionary

see Time





  • , /taɪ̯m/, /taIm/
  • Rhymes with: -aɪm



  1. The inevitable passing of events from past to present then future.
    Time stops for nobody.
    the ebb and flow of time
  2. A quantity of availability in time.
    More time is needed to complete the project.
    You had plenty of time, but you waited until the last minute.
    Are you finished yet? Time’s up!
    Our instructor didn't give us enough time to complete the test.
    The two of us can never find time to see each other any more.
  3. A measurement of a quantity of time; a numerical or general indication of a length of time.
    Record the individual times for the processes in each batch.
    Only your best time is compared with the other competitors.
    The algorithm runs in O(n^2) time.
  4. In the context of "uncountable|slang": The serving of a prison sentence.
    The judge leniently granted a sentence with no hard time.
    He is not living at home because he is doing time.
  5. The time of day; the moment in time, as indicated by a clock or similar device.
    Excuse me, have you got the time?
    What time is it, do you guess? Ten o’clock?
    A computer keeps time using a clock battery.
  6. A particular moment or hour; the appropriate moment or hour for something (esp. with prepositional phrase or imperfect subjunctive).
    It’s time for bed. It’s time to sleep.
    We must wait for the right time.
    It's time we were going.
  7. The measurement under some system of the time of day or moment in time.
    Let's synchronize our watches so we're not on different time.
    Coordinated Universal Time avoids the complications of Daylight Saving Time.
  8. A numerical indication of a particular moment in time.
    At what times do the trains arrive?
    These times were erroneously converted between zones.
  9. An instance or occurrence.
    When was the last time we went out? I don’t remember.
    See you another time.
    That’s three times he’s made the same mistake.
    Okay, but this is the last time. No more after that!
  10. An experience.
    We had a wonderful time at the party.
  11. An era; (with the, sometimes in plural) the current era, the current state of affairs.
    Roman times; the time of the dinosaurs.
    The time is out of joint... (Hamlet)
    O the times, O the customs! (Cicero)
  12. (with possessive) A person's youth or young adulthood, as opposed to the present day.
    In my time, we respected our elders.
  13. (in plural) A person's experiences or biography.
    The Life and Times of...''


inevitable passing of events
  • Arabic: (záman)
  • Breton: amzer
  • Catalan: temps
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (shíjiān)
    Min Nan: (sî-kan)
  • Croatian: vrijeme
  • Czech: čas
  • Danish: tid
  • Dutch: tijd
  • Esperanto: tempo
  • Estonian: aeg
  • Finnish: aika
  • French: temps
  • German: Zeit
  • Greek: χρόνος (chrónos) , καιρός (kerós)
  • Hebrew: זמן (zman)
  • Hungarian: idő
  • Icelandic: tími (usually in definite form)
  • Italian: tempo
  • Japanese: 時間 (じかん, jikan)
  • Kurdish: وه‌خت
  • Latin: tempus
  • Latvian: laiks
  • Malayalam: സമയം (samayam)
  • Maltese: darba
  • Norwegian: tid
  • Polish: czas
  • Portuguese: tempo
  • Russian: время
  • Serbian: vreme
  • Slovene: čas
  • Spanish: tiempo
  • Turkish: zaman
  • Ukrainian: час (čas)
  • Welsh: amser
  • West Frisian: tiid
quantity of availability in time
  • Arabic: (waqt)
  • Catalan: temps
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (shíjiān)
    Min Nan: (sî-kan)
  • Czech: čas
  • Danish: tid
  • Esperanto: tempo
  • Finnish: aika
  • French: temps
  • German: Zeit
  • Greek: χρόνος, ώρα
  • Hungarian: idő
  • Icelandic: tími
  • Irish: am
  • Italian: tempo
  • Japanese: 時間 (じかん, jikan)
  • Kurdish: وه‌خت
  • Malayalam: സമയം (samayam)
  • Maltese: ftit ieħor
  • Norwegian:
  • Portuguese: tempo
  • Russian: время
  • Slovene: čas
  • Turkish: vakt, vakit
  • Ukrainian: час (čas)
  • West Frisian: tiid
measurement of a quantity of time
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (shíjiān)
    Min Nan: (sî-kan)
  • Greek: χρόνος
  • Hungarian: időtartam
  • Kurdish: وه‌خت
  • Russian: время
  • Ukrainian: час (čas)
the serving of a prison sentence
time of day, as indicated by a clock, etc
measurement under some system of the time of day or moment in time
  • Russian: время
  • Ukrainian: час (čas)
numerical indication of a particular moment in time
instance or occurrence
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: ()
    Min Nan: (pái)
  • Esperanto: fojo
  • French: fois
  • Greek: φορά (forá)
  • Hungarian: alkalom
  • Italian: volta
  • Kurdish: کات, جار
  • Russian: раз (raz)
  • Ukrainian: раз (raz)
particular occasion
Kurmanji: dem, wext, zeman


  1. To measure time, especially using a clock of some kind.
  2. To choose the time for.
    The President timed his speech badly, coinciding with the Super Bowl.
    The bomb was timed to explode at 9:20 p.m.

Derived terms


to measure time
to choose the time for





  1. To time.



timi + -e


  1. fearfully




time (plural times)
  1. a team

Extensive Definition

Time is a component of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify the motions of objects. Time has been a major subject of religion, philosophy, and science, but defining time in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars.
In physics and other sciences, time is considered one of the few fundamental quantities. Time is used to define other quantities – such as velocity – and defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition. An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, has a high utility value in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life. The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called space-time brings the nature of time into association with related questions into the nature of space, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.
Among prominent philosophers, there are two distinct viewpoints on time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time. The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable.
Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, and was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, and the beat of a heart. Currently, the international unit of time, the second, is defined as a certain number of hyperfine transitions in caesium atoms (see below). Time is also of significant social importance, having economic value ("time is money") as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human lifespans.

Temporal measurement

Temporal measurement, or chronometry, takes two distinct period forms. The calendar, a mathematical abstraction for calculating extensive periods of time, and the clock, a concrete mechanism that counts the ongoing passage of time. In day-to-day life, the clock is consulted for periods less than a day, the calendar, for periods longer than a day.

History of the calendar

Artifacts from the Palaeolithic suggest that the moon was used to calculate time as early as 12,000, and possibly even 30,000 BP.
A sundial uses a gnomon to cast a shadow on a set of markings which were calibrated to the hour. The position of the shadow marked the hour in local time.
The most accurate timekeeping devices of the ancient world were the waterclock or clepsydra, one of which was found in the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC). They could be used to measure the hours even at night, but required manual timekeeping to replenish the flow of water. The Greeks and Chaldeans regularly maintained timekeeping records as an essential part of their astronomical observations. Arab engineers in particular made improvements on the use of waterclocks up to the Middle Ages.
The hourglass uses the flow of sand to measure the flow of time. They were used in navigation. Ferdinand Magellan used 18 glasses on each ship for his circumnavigation of the globe (1522).
Incense sticks and candles were, and are, commonly used to measure time in temples and churches across the globe. Waterclocks, and later, mechanical clocks, were used to mark the events of the abbeys and monasteries of the Middle Ages. Richard of Wallingford (1292–1336), abbot of St. Alban's abbey, famously built a mechanical clock as an astronomical orrery about 1330.
The English word clock probably comes from the Middle Dutch word "klocke" which is in turn derived from the mediaeval Latin word "clocca", which is ultimately derived from Celtic, and is cognate with French, Latin, and German words that mean bell. The passage of the hours at sea were marked by bells, and denoted the time (see ship's bells). The hours were marked by bells in the abbeys as well as at sea.
Clocks can range from watches, to more exotic varieties such as the Clock of the Long Now. They can be driven by a variety of means, including gravity, springs, and various forms of electrical power, and regulated by a variety of means such as a pendulum.
A chronometer is a portable timekeeper that meets certain precision standards. Initially, the term was used to refer to the marine chronometer, a timepiece used to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation. More recently, the term has also been applied to the chronometer watch, a wristwatch that meets precision standards set by the Swiss agency COSC.
The most accurate timekeeping devices are atomic clocks, which are accurate to seconds in many millions of years, and are used to calibrate other clocks and timekeeping instruments. Atomic clocks use the spin property of atoms as their basis, and since 1967, the International System of Measurements bases its unit of time, the second, on the properties of caesium atoms. SI defines the second as 9,192,631,770 cycles of that radiation which corresponds to the transition between two electron spin energy levels of the ground state of the 133Cs atom.
Today, the Global Positioning System in coordination with the Network Time Protocol can be used to synchronize timekeeping systems across the globe.

Definitions and standards

The SI base unit for time is the SI second. From the second, larger units such as the minute, hour and day are defined, though they are "non-SI" units because they do not use the decimal system, and also because of the occasional need for a leap-second. They are, however, officially accepted for use with the International System. There are no fixed ratios between seconds and months or years as months and years have significant variations in length.
The official SI definition of the second is as follows: At its 1997 meeting, the CIPM affirmed that this definition refers to a caesium atom in its ground state at a temperature of 0 K.
In Book 11 of St. Augustine's Confessions, he ruminates on the nature of time, asking, "What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not." He settles on time being defined more by what it is not than what it is.
Isaac Newton believed time and space form a container for events, which is as real as the objects it contains. In contrast to Newton's belief in absolute space, and a precursor to Kantian time, Leibniz believed that time and space are relational. The differences between Leibniz's and Newton's interpretations came to a head in the famous Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence. Leibniz thought of time as a fundamental part of an abstract conceptual framework, together with space and number, within which we sequence events, quantify their duration, and compare the motions of objects. In this view, time does not refer to any kind of entity that "flows," that objects "move through," or that is a "container" for events.
Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, described time as an a priori intuition that allows us (together with the other a priori intuition, space) to comprehend sense experience. With Kant, neither space nor time are conceived as substances, but rather both are elements of a systematic mental framework that necessarily structures the experiences of any rational agent, or observing subject. Spatial measurements are used to quantify how far apart objects are, and temporal measurements are used to quantify how far apart events occur.
In Existentialism, time is considered fundamental to the question of being, in particular by the philosopher Martin Heidegger. See Ontology.
Henri Bergson believed that time was neither a real homogeneous medium nor a mental construct, but possesses what he referred to as Duration. Duration, in Bergson's view, was creativity and memory as an essential component of reality.

Time as "unreal"

In 5th century BC Greece, Antiphon the Sophist, in a fragment preserved from his chief work On Truth held that: "Time is not a reality (hypostasis), but a concept (noêma) or a measure (metron)." Parmenides went further, maintaining that time, motion, and change were illusions, leading to the paradoxes of his follower Zeno. Time as illusion is also a common theme in Buddhist thought, and some modern philosophers have carried on with this theme. J. M. E. McTaggart's 1908 The Unreality of Time, for example, argues that time is unreal (see also The flow of time).
However, these arguments often center around what it means for something to be "real". Modern physicists generally consider time to be as "real" as space, though others such as Julian Barbour in his The End of Time argue that quantum equations of the universe take their true form when expressed in the timeless configuration spacerealm containing every possible "Now" or momentary configuration of the universe, which he terms 'platonia'. (See also: Eternalism (philosophy of time).)

Time in the physical sciences

From the age of Newton up until Einstein's profound reinterpretation of the physical concepts associated with time and space, time was considered to be "absolute" and to flow "equably" (to use the words of Newton) for all observers. The science of classical mechanics is based on this Newtonian idea of time.
Einstein, in his special theory of relativity, postulated the constancy and finiteness of the speed of light for all observers. He showed that this postulate, together with a reasonable definition for what it means for two events to be simultaneous, requires that distances appear compressed and time intervals appear lengthened for events associated with objects in motion relative to an inertial observer.
Einstein showed that if time and space is measured using electromagnetic phenomena (like light bouncing between mirrors) then due to the constancy of the speed of light, time and space become mathematically entangled together in a certain way (called Minkowski space) which in turn results in Lorentz transformation and in entanglement of all other important derivative physical quantities (like energy, momentum, mass, force, etc) in a certain 4-vectorial way (see special relativity for more details).

Time in classical mechanics

In classical mechanics Newton's concept of "relative, apparent, and common time" can be used in the formulation of a prescription for the synchronization of clocks. Events seen by two different observers in motion relative to each other produce a mathematical concept of time that works pretty well for describing the everyday phenomena of most people's experience.

Time in modern physics

In the late nineteenth century, physicists encountered problems with the classical understanding of time, in connection with the behavior of electricity and magnetism. Einstein resolved these problems by invoking a method of synchronizing clocks using the constant, finite speed of light as the maximum signal velocity. This led directly to the result that time appears to elapse at different rates relative to different observers in motion relative to one another.


Modern physics views the curvature of spacetime around an object as much a feature of that object as are its mass and volume.
Time has historically been closely related with space, the two together comprising spacetime in Einstein's special relativity and general relativity. According to these theories, the concept of time depends on the spatial reference frame of the observer, and the human perception as well as the measurement by instruments such as clocks are different for observers in relative motion. Even the temporal order of events can change, but the past and future are defined by the backward and forward light cones, which never change. The past is the set of events that can send light signals to the observer, the future the events to which the observer can send light signals. All else is non-observable and within that set of events the very time-order differs for different observers.

Time dilation

"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once". This quote, attributed variously to Einstein, John Archibald Wheeler, and Woody Allen, says that time is what separates cause and effect. Einstein showed that people traveling at different speeds, whilst agreeing on cause and effect, will measure different time separations between events and can even observe different chronological orderings between non-causally related events. Though these effects are minute unless one is traveling at a speed close to that of light, the effect becomes pronounced for objects moving at speeds approaching the speed of light. Many subatomic particles exist for only a fixed fraction of a second in a lab relatively at rest, but some that travel close to the speed of light can be measured to travel further and survive much longer than expected (a muon is one example). According to the special theory of relativity, in the high-speed particle's frame of reference, it exists, on the average, for a standard amount of time known as its mean lifetime, and the distance it travels in that time is zero, because its velocity is zero. Relative to a frame of reference at rest, time seems to "slow down" for the particle. Relative to the high-speed particle, distances seems to shorten. Even in Newtonian terms time may be considered the fourth dimension of motion; but Einstein showed how both temporal and spatial dimensions can be altered (or "warped") by high-speed motion.
Einstein (The Meaning of Relativity): "Two events taking place at the points A and B of a system K are simultaneous if they appear at the same instant when observed from the middle point, M, of the interval AB. Time is then defined as the ensemble of the indications of similar clocks, at rest relatively to K, which register the same simultaneously."
Einstein wrote in his book, Relativity, that simultaneity is also relative, i.e., two events that appear simultaneous to an observer in a particular inertial reference frame need not be judged as simultaneous by a second observer in a different inertial frame of reference.

Relativistic time versus Newtonian time

The animations on the left and the right visualise the different treatments of time in the Newtonian and the relativistic descriptions. At heart of these differences are the Galilean and Lorentz transformations applicable in the Newtonian and relativistic theories, respectively.
In both figures, the vertical direction indicates time. The horizontal direction indicates distance (only one spatial dimension is taken into account), and the thick dashed curve is the spacetime trajectory ("world line") of the observer. The small dots indicate specific (past and future) events in spacetime.
The slope of the world line (deviation from being vertical) gives the relative velocity to the observer. Note how in both pictures the view of spacetime changes when the observer accelerates.
In the Newtonian description these changes are such that time is absolute: the movements of the observer do not influence whether an event occurs in the 'now' (i.e. whether an event passes the horizontal line through the observer).
However, in the relativistic description the observability of events is absolute: the movements of the observer influences whether an event passes the light cone of the observer. Notice that with the change from a Newtonian to a relativistic description, the concept of absolute time is no longer applicable: events move up-and-down in the figure depending on the acceleration of the observer.

Arrow of time

Time appears to have a direction – the past lies behind, fixed and incommutable, while the future lies ahead and is not necessarily fixed. Yet the majority of the laws of physics don't provide this arrow of time. The exceptions include the Second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy must increase over time (see Entropy); the cosmological arrow of time, which points away from the Big Bang, and the radiative arrow of time, caused by light only traveling forwards in time. In particle physics, there is also the weak arrow of time, from CPT symmetry, and also measurement in quantum mechanics (see Measurement in quantum mechanics).

Quantised time

seealso Chronon Time quantization is a hypothetical concept. In the modern established physical theories (the Standard Model of Particles and Interactions and General Relativity) time is not quantized.
Planck time (~ 5.4 × 10−44 seconds) is the unit of time in the system of natural units known as Planck units. Current established physical theories are believed to fail at this time scale, and many physicists expect that the Planck time might be the smallest unit of time that could ever be measured, even in principle. Tentative physical theories that describe this time scale exist; see for instance loop quantum gravity.

Time and the Big Bang

Stephen Hawking in particular has addressed a connection between time and the Big Bang. He has sometimes stated that we may as well assume that time began with the Big Bang because trying to answer any question about what happened before the Big Bang is trying to answer a question that is meaningless as those events would have been part of a different time frame and different universe outside of the scope of the Big Bang theory.
Aristotelian philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, has criticized some expositions that Hawking has given stating that time didn't exist before the big bang.
Hawking, in A Brief History of Time and elsewhere, along with several other modern physicists, has stated his position more clearly and less controversially: that even if time did not begin with the Big Bang and there were another time frame before the Big Bang, no information from events then would be accessible to us, and nothing that happened then would have any effect upon the present time-frame.
Scientists have come to some agreement on descriptions of events that happened 10−35 seconds after the Big Bang, but generally agree that descriptions about what happened before one Planck time (5 × 10−44 seconds) after the Big Bang will likely remain pure speculation.

Speculative physics beyond the Big Bang

While the Big Bang model is well established in cosmology, it is likely to be refined in the future. Little is known about the earliest moments of the universe's history. The Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems require the existence of a singularity at the beginning of cosmic time. However, these theorems assume that general relativity is correct, but general relativity must break down before the universe reaches the Planck temperature, and a correct treatment of quantum gravity may avoid the singularity.
There may also be parts of the universe well beyond what can be observed in principle. If inflation occurred this is likely, for exponential expansion would push large regions of space beyond our observable horizon.
Some proposals, each of which entails untested hypotheses, are:
  • models including the Hartle-Hawking boundary condition in which the whole of space-time is finite; the Big Bang does represent the limit of time, but without the need for a singularity.
  • brane cosmology models in which inflation is due to the movement of branes in string theory; the pre-big bang model; the ekpyrotic model, in which the Big Bang is the result of a collision between branes; and the cyclic model, a variant of the ekpyrotic model in which collisions occur periodically.
  • chaotic inflation, in which inflation events start here and there in a random quantum-gravity foam, each leading to a bubble universe expanding from its own big bang.
Proposals in the last two categories see the Big Bang as an event in a much larger and older universe, or multiverse, and not the literal beginning.

Time travel

Time travel is the concept of moving backwards and/or forwards to different points in time, in a manner analogous to moving through space and different than the "normal" flow of time to an earthbound observer. Although time travel has been a plot device in fiction since the 19th century, and one-way travel into the future is arguably possible given the phenomenon of time dilation in the theory of relativity, it is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow time travel to the past. Any technological device, whether fictional or hypothetical, that is used to achieve time travel is known as a time machine. A central problem with time travel to the past is the violation of causality; should an effect precede its cause, it would give rise to the possibility of temporal paradox. Some interpretations of time travel resolve this by accepting the possibility of travel between parallel realities or universes.

Perception of time

Time in psychology

Even in the presence of timepieces, different individuals may judge an identical length of time to be passing at different rates. Commonly, this is referred to as time seeming to "fly" (a period of time seeming to pass faster than possible) or time seeming to "drag" (a period of time seeming to pass slower than possible). The psychologist Jean Piaget called this form of time perception "lived time."
This common experience was used to familiarize the general public to the ideas presented by Einstein's theory of relativity in a 1930 cartoon by Sidney "George" Strube:
A form of temporal illusion verifiable by experiment is the kappa effect, whereby time intervals between visual events are perceived as relatively longer or shorter depending on the relative spatial positions of the events. In other words: the perception of temporal intervals appears to be directly affected, in these cases, by the perception of spatial intervals.
Time also appears to pass more quickly as one gets older. Stephen Hawking suggests that the perception of time is a ratio: Unit of Time : Time Lived. For example, one hour to a six-month-old person would be approximately "1:4032", while one hour to a 40-year-old would be "1:349,440". Therefore an hour appears much longer to a young child than to an aged adult, even though the measure of time is the same.

Time in altered states of consciousness

Altered states of consciousness are sometimes characterized by a different estimation of time. Some psychoactive substances – such as entheogens – may also dramatically alter a person's temporal judgement. When viewed under the influence of such substances as LSD, psychedelic mushrooms and peyote, a clock may appear to be a strange reference point and a useless tool for measuring the passage of events as it does not correlate with the user's experience. At higher doses, time may appear to slow down, stop, speed up, go backwards and even seem out of sequence. A typical thought might be "I can't believe it's only 8 o'clock, but then again, what does 8 o'clock mean?" As the boundaries for experiencing time are removed, so is its relevance. Many users claim this unbounded timelessness feels like a glimpse into spiritual infinity. To imagine that one exists somewhere "outside" of time is one of the hallmark experiences of a psychedelic voyage. Marijuana, a milder psychedelic, may also distort the perception of time to a lesser degree.
The practice of meditation, central to all Buddhist traditions, takes as its goal the reflection of the mind back upon itself, thus altering the subjective experience of time; the so called, 'entering the now', or 'the moment'.


Culture is another variable contributing to the perception of time. Anthropologist Benjamin Lee Whorf reported after studying the Hopi cultures that: "… the Hopi language is seen to contain no words, grammatical forms, construction or expressions or that refer directly to what we call “time”, or to past, present, or future…" Whorf's assertion has been challenged and modified. Pinker debunks Whorf's claims about time in the Hopi language, pointing out that the anthropologist Malotki (1983) has found that the Hopi do have a concept of time very similar to that of other cultures; they have units of time, and a sophisticated calendar.

Use of time

In sociology and anthropology, time discipline is the general name given to social and economic rules, conventions, customs, and expectations governing the measurement of time, the social currency and awareness of time measurements, and people's expectations concerning the observance of these customs by others.
The use of time is an important issue in understanding human behaviour, education, and travel behaviour. Time use research is a developing field of study. The question concerns how time is allocated across a number of activities (such as time spent at home, at work, shopping, etc.). Time use changes with technology, as the television or the Internet created new opportunities to use time in different ways. However, some aspects of time use are relatively stable over long periods of time, such as the amount of time spent traveling to work, which despite major changes in transport, has been observed to be about 20-30 minutes one-way for a large number of cities over a long period of time. This has led to the disputed time budget hypothesis.
Time management is the organization of tasks or events by first estimating how much time a task will take to be completed, when it must be completed, and then adjusting events that would interfere with its completion so that completion is reached in the appropriate amount of time. Calendars and day planners are common examples of time management tools.
Arlie Russell Hochschild and Norbert Elias have written on the use of time from a sociological perspective.

See also

See the Time navigation templates below for an exhaustive list of related articles.


Leading scholarly organizations for researchers on the history and technology of time and timekeeping

Miscellaneous units of time

Notes and references

Further reading

  • The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics - Research bibliography
  • About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution
  • The Character of Physical Law ">}}
  • Einstein's Clocks and Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time
  • Arrow of Time: A Voyage through Science to Solve Time's Greatest Mystery
  • It's About Time: Understanding Einstein's Relativity">}}
  • The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics ">}}
  • Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point">}}
  • The Direction of Time ">}}
  • Stiegler, Bernard, Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus
  • The Nature of Time
  • The Natural Philosophy of Time
  • Time in History. The evolution of our general awareness of time and temporal perspective
  • What is time? What is space? ">}}


Navigation templates

time in Arabic: زمن
time in Asturian: Tiempu
time in Azerbaijani: Zaman (fizika)
time in Bengali: সময়
time in Min Nan: Sî-kan
time in Belarusian: Час
time in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Час
time in Bosnian: Vrijeme (fizika)
time in Bulgarian: Време
time in Catalan: Temps
time in Chuvash: Вăхăт
time in Czech: Čas
time in Welsh: Amser
time in Danish: Tid
time in German: Zeit
time in Estonian: Aeg
time in Modern Greek (1453-): Χρόνος
time in Spanish: Tiempo
time in Esperanto: Tempo
time in Basque: Denbora
time in Persian: زمان
time in French: Temps
time in Western Frisian: Tiid
time in Galician: Tempo
time in Korean: 시간
time in Hindi: काल
time in Croatian: Vrijeme (fizika)
time in Ido: Tempo
time in Bishnupriya: টাইম
time in Indonesian: Waktu
time in Icelandic: Tími
time in Italian: Tempo
time in Hebrew: זמן
time in Javanese: Wektu
time in Kannada: ಕಾಲ
time in Kara-Kalpak: Waqıt
time in Georgian: დრო
time in Swahili (macrolanguage): Wakati
time in Latin: Tempus
time in Latvian: Laiks
time in Luxembourgish: Zäit
time in Lithuanian: Laikas
time in Hungarian: Idő
time in Marathi: काळ
time in Malay (macrolanguage): Masa
time in Dutch: Tijd
time in Japanese: 時間
time in Norwegian: Tid
time in Norwegian Nynorsk: Tid
time in Novial: Tempe
time in Uzbek: Vaqt
time in Low German: Tiet
time in Polish: Czas
time in Portuguese: Tempo
time in Romanian: Timp
time in Quechua: Puriq pacha
time in Russian: Время
time in Albanian: Koha
time in Sicilian: Tempu
time in Simple English: Time
time in Slovak: Čas
time in Slovenian: Čas
time in Serbian: Време
time in Serbo-Croatian: Vrijeme
time in Finnish: Aika
time in Swedish: Tid
time in Tamil: நேரம்
time in Thai: เวลา
time in Vietnamese: Thời gian
time in Tajik: Соат
time in Turkish: Zaman (fizik)
time in Ukrainian: Час
time in Yiddish: צייט
time in Yoruba: Àsìkò
time in Contenese: 時間
time in Chinese: 时间

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Archean, Archeozoic, Cambrian, Carboniferous, Cenozoic, Comanchean, Cretaceous, Devonian, Eocene, Glacial, Holocene, International Date Line, Lower Cretaceous, Lower Tertiary, Mesozoic, Miocene, Mississippian, Oligocene, Paleocene, Paleozoic, Pennsylvanian, Permian, Platonic year, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Precambrian, Proterozoic, Quaternary, Recent, Silurian, Tertiary, Triassic, Upper Cretaceous, Upper Tertiary, a leg up, accompany, adjust, aeon, again and again, age, agree, ahead of time, all at once, all the same, all the time, all together, always, anchor watch, andante tempo, annus magnus, anon, antedate, antiquated, at all times, at intervals, at once, at one time, at times, be in phase, be in time, beat, beat time, beforehand, behind the times, bell, bender, bit, book, bout, brannigan, break, bright and early, bust, but, carousal, carouse, chance, circumstance, clear stage, clock, coexist, coextend, coincide, compotation, compound time, concur, conditions, constantly, contemporize, continually, continuous tenure, continuously, control, convenience, culture, cycle, cycle of indiction, date, date line, dated, datemark, dawdle, day, day shift, days, dead, delay, dogwatch, duple time, duration, early, ease, enlistment, epoch, era, even so, eventually, ever, every so often, everything, experience, fair field, fair game, fateful moment, fix, fix the time, for the moment, for the nonce, formerly, forthwith, free time, freedom, frequently, full time, generation, go, goof-off time, graveyard shift, great year, habits, half time, heretofore, heyday, hitch, hour, however, idle hours, immediately, in good time, in no time, in time, in unison, indiction, inning, innings, instant, interval, isochronize, jag, juncture, just the same, kairos, keep in step, keep pace with, keep time, largo, leisure, liberty, life, lifetime, linger, lobster trick, loiter, look-in, many times, march tempo, mark time, match, meanwhile, measure, measure time, minute, mixed times, moment, moment of truth, mores, nevertheless, night shift, nonetheless, notwithstanding, obsolescent, obsolete, occasion, occasionally, odd moments, often, old hat, old-fashioned, on account, on credit, on occasion, on one occasion, on terms, on the dot, on time, once, one day, opening, opportunism, opportunity, organize, outdated, outmoded, overtime, pace, part time, passe, patch, period, perpetually, place, plan, point, point of time, postdate, pregnant moment, prematurely, presto, previously, prison term, pro tem, pro tempore, program, psychological moment, punctually, quickly, rag, ragtime, regulate, relay, relief, repeatedly, repose, rest, retirement, rhythm, room, round, rubato, say, schedule, scope, season, semiretirement, set, set the time, set up, sextuple time, shift, shilly-shally, shot, show, simple time, simultaneously, someday, sometime, sometimes, soon, sooner or later, space, span, spare time, speedily, spell, split schedule, split shift, spree, squeak, stage, stepping-stone, stint, straightaway, stretch, sunrise watch, swiftly, swing shift, synchronize, syncopation, syncope, tempo, tempo rubato, temporarily, tenure, term, the time, things, three-quarter time, time after time, time and again, time at bat, time lag, time of day, time pattern, time signal, time to kill, time to spare, times, timing, together, tour, tour of duty, trick, triple time, triplet, turn, turn of work, two-four time, unceasingly, values, waltz time, watch, whack, whet, while, without delay, work shift, yet
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