View synonyms for time-out



  1. sport an interruption in play during which players rest, discuss tactics, or make substitutions
  2. a break taken during working hours
  3. computing a condition occurring when the amount of time a computer has been instructed to wait for another device to perform a task has expired, usually indicated by an error message


  1. intr (of a computer) to stop operating because of a time-out

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Idioms and Phrases

A short break from work or play; also, a punishment for misbehavior in young children in which they are briefly separated from the group. For example, People rush around so much these days that I think everyone should take some time out now and then , or We don't throw food, Brian; you need some time out to think about it . This expression comes from a number of sports in which it signifies an interruption in play where the officials stop the clock, for purposes of rest, making a substitution, or consultation. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

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Example Sentences

If Huckabee runs, the hurdles he faced the last time out, namely geography and money, would still be there.

Israeli elections means a time out And that brings us to the bottom line.

Normally Democratic Silicon Valley opened up its wallets to the Republicans this time out.

“[Perry] has a huge campus with seven or eight soundstages,” recalled Fincher, in Time Out Hong Kong.

To be sure, Obama has not spent much political capital or much time out on the trail for Abercrombie or Schatz.

Frequent calls for copies of my small book—by this time out of print—testified that this was actually the case.

The chapel has been ruined time out of mind, and is to-day but a motive for a sketch.

Thus, he took time out to warn them of Tarleton's plans and to urge them to delay the British as long as possible.

When they had pitched their tents and supper was started, the girls took time out to admire the scenery of their surroundings.

He was a portly man, wore a three-cocked hat, and an old scarlet cloak, which had served the same purpose time out of mind.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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