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]

Words Nearby mark time

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

How to use mark time in a sentence

  • The wind in the tree-tops overhead sighs in soft music, and ever and anon a leaf falls with a slight rustle to mark time.

    The Hills and the Vale | Richard Jefferies
  • Hawkins wheeled his line to the right, making the pivot-mark time, and passed along the end of the yard, which was deserted.

    The Incendiary | W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • Susan, holding "the highest ground," found it difficult to mark time until she could find her place in the reconstruction.

    Susan B. Anthony | Alma Lutz