Top 20 Idioms used to describe Time

Time and Idiomatic Expression: The Art of Incorporating Time-Related Idioms in Creative Writing

Table 1:

1. Time fliesTime passes quicklyAs we laughed and shared stories, we didn’t realize how time flies.
2. In the nick of timeJust in time, at the last possible momentHe finished the project in the nick of time before the deadline.
3. Beat the clockComplete a task before a deadlineWe were working hard to beat the clock and submit the report on time.
4. Time is moneyTime is valuable; don’t waste itWe can’t afford to wait any longer. Remember, time is money.
5. Against the clockRushed; trying to complete something within a time limitShe was working against the clock to finish the presentation.
6. Turn back the clockReturn to a previous time or situationIf only I could turn back the clock and take back what I said.
7. Bide one’s timeWait patiently for the right opportunityHe decided to bide his time until a better job opportunity came along.
8. The sands of timeThe passage of timeThe sands of time had taken their toll on the old house.
9. A race against timeTrying to accomplish something before time runs outRescuing the trapped miners was a race against time.
10. Time on one’s handsFree timeWith so much time on my hands, I decided to start a new hobby.
11. Kill timeTo use up time while waitingI read a magazine to kill time while waiting for my appointment.
12. Time and tide wait for no manTime won’t stop for anyoneWe must seize opportunities as they come because time and tide wait for no man.
13. A stitch in time saves nineTaking care of a problem early can prevent larger issuesFixing the leak now will save us trouble later; a stitch in time saves nine.
14. Time heals all woundsEmotional pain lessens over timeShe was heartbroken, but her friends assured her that time heals all wounds.
15. Once in a blue moonSomething that happens rarelyHe hardly ever visits, maybe just once in a blue moon.
16. At the eleventh hourAt the last possible momentThe negotiations were successful at the eleventh hour.
17. Living on borrowed timeContinuing to survive despite being close to death or failureThe company was living on borrowed time before the investor stepped in.
18. On the spur of the momentDeciding something spontaneouslyThey decided to go for a weekend getaway on the spur of the moment.
19. In the long runOver an extended period of timeIn the long run, investing in education will benefit the whole society.
20. Time stands stillA moment that feels as if it’s frozen in timeWhen she walked down the aisle, it felt like time stood still.

Idiomatic expressions are linguistic tools that bring color, nuance, and richness to language, allowing writers to convey complex ideas with striking simplicity. They play a vital role in creative writing, as they enable authors to communicate emotions, thoughts, and experiences more effectively, making their work resonate with readers. Time-related idioms, in particular, offer unique opportunities for writers to explore and manipulate the concept of time, an integral aspect of storytelling. This essay aims to examine the various ways in which idiomatic expressions can be employed to describe time in creative writing, offering insights and strategies that authors can apply to their work in order to achieve the level of intelligence and sophistication worthy of a Booker Prize winner.

This is the continuation from this Creative Writing Chapter: Mastery of Time in Creative Writing: When and How to Use Words that Describe Time

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Section 1: Understanding Time-Related Idioms and Their Impact on Creative Writing

1.1 The Role of Time-Related Idioms in Creative Writing

Time-related idioms are figurative expressions that use time as a central theme or motif. They provide writers with an engaging and accessible means of conveying the passage of time, the temporality of events, and the relationship between time and human experience. By employing these idiomatic expressions in their work, authors can create evocative, memorable narratives that capture the reader’s imagination and provoke a deeper emotional response.

1.2 The Power of Time-Related Idioms to Evoke Emotion and Create Atmosphere

Time-related idioms often possess a strong emotional charge, as they encapsulate universal human experiences and feelings associated with the passage of time, such as longing, regret, hope, and nostalgia. By incorporating these idiomatic expressions into their work, writers can create a vivid and emotionally resonant atmosphere, allowing readers to connect with the characters and events on a more intimate level.

Section 2: Strategies for Incorporating Time-Related Idioms into Creative Writing

2.1 Selecting the Right Idiomatic Expression for the Narrative Context

In order to effectively use time-related idioms in creative writing, it is essential for authors to carefully consider the context in which they are working. The chosen idiomatic expression should align with the tone, theme, and style of the narrative, as well as the characters’ motivations and emotions. By selecting idioms that resonate with the narrative context, writers can create a cohesive and engaging reading experience.

2.2 Balancing Figurative and Literal Language

While idiomatic expressions can enrich a narrative and bring a unique, expressive quality to the writing, it is crucial for authors to strike a balance between figurative and literal language. Overuse of idiomatic expressions can lead to a lack of clarity and may obscure the author’s intended meaning. By employing idioms judiciously and in conjunction with more straightforward descriptions, writers can maintain clarity while still capturing the emotional and atmospheric qualities that idiomatic expressions offer.

2.3 Utilizing Idiomatic Expression to Enhance Characterization

Time-related idioms can also be used to enhance characterization by revealing aspects of a character’s personality, emotions, or cultural background. By incorporating idiomatic expressions that reflect the character’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, authors can create a more nuanced and believable portrayal of the character, while also reinforcing the narrative’s themes and motifs related to time.

Section 3: Examples of Time-Related Idioms and Their Use in Creative Writing

3.1 Time Flies

Meaning: Time passes quickly, often without realization.

Usage: In a coming-of-age narrative, the protagonist may reflect on how “time flies” as they grow older and confront the challenges of adulthood. This idiomatic expression can be used to convey a sense of nostalgia, as well as to emphasize the fleeting nature of youth.

3.2 In the Nick of Time

Meaning: Just in time; at the last possible moment.

Usage: In a suspenseful narrative, the protagonist may complete a critical task or save someone “in the nick of time.” This idiomatic expression can create tension and excitement, heightening the reader’s engagement with the story.

3.3 A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Meaning: Taking care of a problem early can prevent larger issues in the future.

Usage: In a cautionary tale, a character might learn the value of addressing problems promptly through the adage “a stitch in time saves nine.” This idiomatic expression can convey the importance of foresight and timely action.

3.4 Time Heals All Wounds

Meaning: Emotional pain lessens over time.

Usage: In a story exploring themes of loss and healing, a character might be consoled with the idea that “time heals all wounds.” This idiomatic expression can evoke empathy and compassion from the reader, creating a sense of shared human experience.

Section 4: The Challenges and Limitations of Using Time-Related Idioms in Creative Writing

4.1 Cultural and Linguistic Variability

One challenge that writers may encounter when using idiomatic expressions is the cultural and linguistic variability of these expressions. As idioms are often rooted in specific cultural contexts, they may not be universally understood or may carry different connotations for readers from diverse backgrounds. Authors should be mindful of their target audience and consider whether the idiomatic expressions they choose will resonate with readers as intended.

4.2 The Potential for Cliché and Overused Idioms

Another challenge when incorporating idiomatic expressions is the potential for cliché. Some idioms may be overused and, as a result, may lose their impact or come across as trite or unimaginative. Authors should strive to avoid clichés by selecting idiomatic expressions that are fresh and original or by reinterpreting familiar idioms in a unique and creative manner.

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Time-related idioms are powerful tools in the arsenal of creative writers, offering a means of conveying complex emotions and ideas related to the passage of time, the temporality of events, and the human experience. By carefully selecting and incorporating these idiomatic expressions into their work, authors can create rich, evocative narratives that engage and captivate their readers. Furthermore, by considering the challenges and limitations associated with the use of idiomatic expressions, writers can avoid clichés and ensure that their work remains fresh, original, and thought-provoking. Ultimately, the mastery of time-related idioms in creative writing is an essential skill for authors striving to achieve the level of intelligence and sophistication worthy of a Booker Prize winner.

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