or time·out

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noun, plural time-outs.
  1. a brief suspension of activity; intermission or break.
  2. Sports. a short interruption in a regular period of play during which a referee or other official stops the clock so that the players may rest, deliberate, make substitutions, etc.

Origin of time-out

First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for time-out

letup, lull, breather, pause, halt, intermission, spell, rest, interlude, break, recess

Examples from the Web for time-out

Contemporary Examples of time-out

British Dictionary definitions 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
verb time out
  1. (intr) (of a computer) to stop operating because of a time-out
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for time-out

also time out, 1896 in sports, 1939 in other occupations; from 1980 as the name of a strategy in child discipline; from time + out.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper