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clock is ticking, the

The time (for something to be done) is passing quickly; hurry up. For example, The clock is ticking on that project. This allusion to a stopwatch is often used as an admonition to speed something up. It also is used in more specific form— one's biological clock is ticking—meaning that a woman may soon be too old to bear a child, as in Her biological clock is ticking—she just turned forty.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.