kill time

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

kill time (third-person singular simple present kills time, present participle killing time, simple past and past participle killed time)

  1. (informal, intransitive) To engage in an activity whose only purpose is to make the time seem to pass more quickly; to fill the time between activities.
    She had nothing better to do, so she went to the bowling alley to kill time.
    • 1758, Charlotte Lennox, Henrietta, London: A. Millar, Volume 2, Book 4, Chapter 3, p. 129,[1]
      Mrs. Autumn [] lay in bed always till it was very late this being one of those happy expedients for killing time (as the fashionable phrase is) which, to discover, employs the inventions of persons of rank and fortune.
    • 1854, Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Book 2, Chapter 1,[2]
      I had no intention of delivering my letter at the present moment, nor have I. But strolling on to the Bank to kill time, and having the good fortune to observe at the window [] a lady of a very superior and agreeable appearance, I considered that I could not do better than take the liberty of asking that lady where Mr. Bounderby the Banker does live.
    • 1930, Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Chapter 12, pp. 137-138,[3]
      You were still out, so she drove back downtown and went to a movie to kill time until after midnight, when she thought she’d be more likely to find you in.
    • 1961 March, "Balmore", “Driving and firing modern French steam locomotives”, in Trains Illustrated, page 151:
      This was uneventful, except that I found myself consistently running in front of a fairly comfortable schedule, and after trying No. U.1 out on the bank from Creil to Survilliers with great success, had to kill some 8min time gained on the descent, a task which proved impossible, even though we were stopped opposite La Chapelle.
    • 1982, Adele Geras, The Green behind the Glass (U.S. title: Snapshots of Paradise), Lions Teen Tracks,
      She’s up there now, thought Bella, up in that freezing studio, killing time till the child comes home, mooning, dreaming, turning disjointed thoughts over in her head, and we'll pay for it.

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