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against the clock

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Also, against time. In a great hurry, as fast as possible, as in With her term paper due on Monday, she was racing against the clock to finish it, or They were working against time to stay on schedule. The term comes from various sports in which the contestants do not directly compete against each other but instead are timed individually, the winner being the one who is fastest. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON PARENTHESES AND BRACKETS APLENTY!

Set some time apart to test your bracket symbol knowledge, and see if you can keep your parentheses, squares, curlies, and angles all straight!
Question 1 of 7
Let’s start with some etymology: What are the origins of the typographical word “bracket”?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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