[ tahy-ming ]
/ ˈtaɪ mɪŋ /
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  1. a synchronizing of the various parts of a production for theatrical effect.
  2. the result or effect thus achieved.
  3. (in acting) the act of adjusting one's tempo of speaking and moving for dramatic effect.
Sports. the control of the speed of a stroke, blow, etc., in order that it may reach its maximum at the proper moment.
the selecting of the best time or speed for doing something in order to achieve the desired or maximum result: I went to ask for a raise, but my timing was bad, since the boss had indigestion.
an act or instance of observing and recording the elapsed time of an act, contest, process, etc.
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Origin of timing

1200–50; 1590–1600 for def. 4; Middle English: hap, occurrence; see time, -ing1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does timing mean?

Timing often means the selection of the exact time or speed at which to do something in order to get the desired or best result.

One of the meanings of time as a verb is to choose the moment or occasion to do something, as in She timed that pass perfectly. Timing is the noun form of this.

Timing is especially relevant in activities like sports and acting. In sports, timing involves actions like moving oneself or the ball at the right moment to gain an advantage or to score. In acting, timing involves choosing when to say a line or the speed at which to say it. Good comedic timing makes things funnier.

In general, timing often involves when we choose to do something. Sometimes, though, the timing of something isn’t decided by choice. For example, when an event outside of anyone’s control simply happens at the wrong time, we describe it as bad timing. When a fortunate event happens at the right time, we call it good timing.

Another use of the word timing refers to the recording or observation of how long it takes something to be done, especially some kind of contest, as in The official timekeeper is responsible for the timing of the race.

Example: My package of replacements arrived right before I ran out of them—it was perfect timing!

Where does timing come from?

The first records of the word timing come from the 1200s. It’s a form of the word time.

The expression “Timing is everything” means that the result of an action or event often greatly depends on when it is done or when it happens. The expression is commonly applied to sports. LeBron James’ iconic block during Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals is often described as perfect timing—if he had jumped moments sooner or later, things may have turned out differently. The expression is also often applied to acting and comedy. Comedians are especially aware of their timing—a split second can make a big difference for how a joke is received.

In general, we talk a lot about timing in life, especially when things happen at the perfect or worst possible moment.

A more narrow sense of the word timing is used in the context of theater, in which it refers to when different parts of a production are synchronized.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to timing?

What are some words that share a root or word element with timing


What are some words that often get used in discussing timing?

How is timing used in real life?

Timing is everything, as they say, and the word is used in all kinds of contexts.



Try using timing!

Which of the following words could be used to describe someone’s timing?

A. perfect
B. bad
C. excellent
D. all of the above

How to use timing in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for timing

/ (ˈtaɪmɪŋ) /

the process or art of regulating actions or remarks in relation to others to produce the best effect, as in music, the theatre, sport, etc
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