mark time


Wait idly for something to occur, as in We were just marking time until we received our instructions. This idiom alludes to the literal meaning of marching in place to the time, or beat, of music. [Early 1800s]

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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.

Example sentences from the Web for mark time

  • First there are the unusually bright children, who mark-time in the ordinary classes.

    The New Education|Scott Nearing