kill time


kill time


  • pass time aimlessly or without purpose.
  • occupy oneself during a period of waiting or boredom.
  • engage in activities to make time seem to pass more quickly.
  • find ways to fill empty hours or idle moments.
  • distract oneself from feeling bored or restless by engaging in various activities.
  • spend time in a manner that does not contribute to productivity or achievement.

Example Sentences

  1. Waiting for the bus, she decided to kill time by reading a book.
  2. During the flight delay, they killed time by playing cards and chatting.
  3. Instead of sitting idle, he killed time by taking a walk around the park.
  4. She found a way to kill time during the long wait at the doctor’s office by solving crossword puzzles.
  5. Unable to sleep, he killed time by watching movies until the early hours of the morning.
  6. The team was killing time at the stadium before it was their turn to play.
  7. How am I to kill time in this awfully boring place?

Origin and History

During ancient times, when people had leisure time between tasks, they would often play games or engage in recreational activities to pass the hours. One popular pastime involved using small sticks to mark the passing minutes on the ground. As they awaited the completion of tasks or the arrival of an event, individuals would playfully “kill time” by arranging these sticks or markers in various patterns or games, providing entertainment while they waited. Over time, this practice evolved into the figurative expression “kill time,” symbolizing the act of engaging in activities to pass idle moments or waiting periods.

The earliest recorded instance of the phrase “time to kill” dates back to 1590, originating from a book titled “A Booke of Fishing with Hooke & Line,” authored by Leonard Mascall. It reads:

“… a great number there is in this realm which governs waters that spares no time to kill, nor cares for no time to save, but takes at all times, which maketh freshe fishe so deare, and so scant in riuers and running waters.”

The oldest known record of the idiom “kill time” dates back to 1694, found in a book originally written in French by François Rabelais, titled “Pantagruel’s Voyage to the Oracle of the Bottle,” translated into English by Peter Anthony Mottereux (1660–1718).

“at last Fryar John returning from the fore-castle, perceiv’d that Pantagruel was awake: then breaking this obstinate silence, he briskly and cheerfully ask’d him, how a man should kill time, and raise good weather, during a calm at sea?”

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