Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English tima "limited space of time," from Proto-Germanic *timon "time" (cf. Old Norse timi "time, proper time," Swedish timme "an hour"), from PIE *di-mon-, from root *da- "cut up, divide" (see tide).

Abstract sense of "time as an indefinite continuous duration" is recorded from late 14c. Personified since at least 1509 as an aged bald man (but with a forelock) carrying a scythe and an hour-glass. In English, a single word encompasses time as "extent" and "point" (French temps/fois, German zeit/mal) as well as "hour" (e.g. "what time is it?" cf. French heure, German Uhr). Extended senses such as "occasion," "the right time," "leisure," or times (v.) "multiplied by" developed in Old and Middle English, probably as a natural outgrowth of phrases like, "He commends her a hundred times to God" (Old French La comande a Deu cent foiz).

Time of day (now mainly preserved in negation, i.e. what someone won't give you if he doesn't like you) was a popular 17c. salutation (e.g. "Good time of day vnto your Royall Grace," "Richard III," I.iii.18). Times as the name of a newspaper dates from 1788. Time warp first attested 1954; time capsule first recorded 1938, in reference to New York World's Fair; time-traveling in the science fiction sense first recorded 1895 in H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." To do time "serve a prison sentence" is from 1865. Time frame is attested by 1964; time line (also timeline) by 1890; time-limit is from 1880. About time, ironically for "long past due time," is recorded from 1920. Behind the times "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1846, first attested in Dickens.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR AT ONE TIME

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.