bide time


bide time


  • to wait for the perfect moment to do something
  • to kill time while the most opportune moment arrives
  • to wait in a patient manner
  • usually used in a positive way to show something wonderful is about to happen but is commonly used as a sarcastic comment too

Example Sentences

  1. The big tiger bides time until the zebra had to make its way to the water fountain and then struck.
  2. He is just biding time until the death sentence is executed.
  3. I like to bide my time and get the cake out at the stroke of midnight, every year on my wife’s birthday.
  4. He is biding time until he has to start college, then he will be very active in the social circle.
  5. She has been biding her time for several months now for an opportunity as great as this one.
  6. He does not like to bide his time and wait for the action, he is a go getter.
  7. The wild cat sat quietly in front of the rabbit’s hiding place, biding his time.


This is considered an American origin phrase with no source for a literary first use. The speculation is, however, that the phrase is converted from a literal meaning of bidding one’s time, which is presently synonym with waiting, either patiently, eagerly or in a dreaded manner.

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Hello Alex,

We appreciate your help and thank you for reporting the errors.

Theidioms Team

‒ June 22, 2018

The progressive form of bide is biding, not bidding. Also in the first example, the tiger bides time. You need third person -s.

‒ Alex June 21, 2018

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