1. a prison sentence; thus do time, to serve a sentence, below.
|Oliver Twist (1966) 184: He excused himself to the company by stating that his ‘time’ was only out an hour before.|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 6 Dec. 3/3: It appeared on that occasion that, having ‘served her time,’ she came to Sydney to obtain her ‘certificate of freedom’.|
|Our Antipodes I 291: The employment of prisoners, or men who have ‘served their time.’.|
|Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act IV: I served my time. I came out an altered man.|
|Vagabond Papers (3rd Ser.) 136: I mean to be on the square when I get out [...] I’ve put in enough time in my life.|
|‘The Lost Souls’ Hotel’ in Roderick (1972) 154: Some poor old devil who [...] went wrong, and served his time for embezzlement.|
|Round London 96: I was doing time.|
|Illus. Police News 31 Dec. 11/3: I didn’t ‘clear’ directly after the ‘screen’ (I did not leave directly after the hue-and-cry), and was near the Old Bailey when ‘the kid’ (Kirby), got his ‘time’.|
|Stealing Through Life in Hamilton Men of the Und. 260: You’re out here to serve your time.|
|How to Commit a Murder 29: Those cry-baby bandits that squealed on the cops – they all wound up in the can with plenty of time.|
|Walk on the Wild Side 16: They [...] boasted of their time in jail. Hard time and easy, wall time and farm time, fed time and state, city time, county time, short time and good time, soft time and jawbone time, big house, little house and middle house time, industrial time and meritorious time — ‘that’s for working your ass off.’.|
|Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 150: ‘She’ll go to nick [...] She’ll get time’.|
|Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 152: Up at Warwick the cats had never really served any time before.|
|S.R.O. (1998) 65: You get more time for having a list of numbers in your pocket than for a bag of heroin.|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 48: A young man who [...] had served time for assaulting another teenager.|
|🎵 To all the homeboys doin time in the pen / Gonna rock this beat for you once again.‘Cusswords’|
|Homeboy 84: And what did it [i.e. true love] get her? State time.|
|Layer Cake 66: These comics could get you sent down for decades, serious time.|
|Running the Books 35: Many [prophets] were criminals [...] Abraham did time; Joseph did time; Jeremiah did time.|
|Stoning 210: Y‘ou do the crime, you do the time’.|
2. (US, also times) a good time, a drinking spree [backform. f. SE phr. a good time was had by all].
|Venus in Boston 23: [A] crowd of well-dressed but dissipated young men enter the cellar, their wild looks and disorderly attire plainly indicating that they are on a regular ‘time’.|
|Saddle and Mocassin 144: We’d been having ‘a time,’ and my keg was pretty full, too.|
|Vandover and the Brute (1914) 47: What do you say that we all go to every joint in town, and wind up at the Turkish baths? We’ll have a regular time.|
|🎵 If today was Christmas Eve and tomorrow was Christmas Day, ah wouldn’t we have a time.‘Hell Hound on My Trail’|
|Adams Thesis in Gordon & Nemerov Lost Delta Found (2005) 289: Well son, I ain't fit for as much fun as I used to be fitten for. [...] Now you take them boys of mine, they can tell you 'bout having a time.interviewee q. in|
|A Gross of Pyjamas (1954) 10: This ain’t much of a place after Chicago [...] I bet you had the times over there.|
|Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever 168: She had a time with me, that’s for sure, but she kept trying to get me to save up some.|
|in Sports Illus. 3 Dec. in Davis (ed) Permanent Wave 217: ‘Not much money down in Brawley, but we have some kind of time’.|
|The Barracks Thief 84: At night they will go down on the beach and have a time. Light a fire and get drunk and laugh.|
|Fence 254: Kenny had specifically told his twin sister [...] that he did not want a party. [...] But that was like asking them to deny their roots. Holding a ‘time’ for a friend was the Southie way; it was in their DNA.|
3. (Irish/US) credit.
|Rambling Recollections of a Soldier of Fortune 204: I sould it upon time*, and gave him until little Lady-day. (*Time, in Connaught, means credit).|
|Sporting Times 6 May 1/1: A prominent backer not many years ago, who frequently had to ask for ‘time’ and eventually died owing a large sum to the Ring.|
|(con. 1985–90) In Search of Respect 191: Whatever I want, I can get it on time [monthly credit payments].|
(US prison/Und.) to serve a jail sentence.
|On the Yard (2002) 25: I toleem I couldn’t build no kidnap time less’n they promised me I could live forever.|
(US Und.) time off for good behaviour in prison.
|Prison Sl. 25: Copper Time In many prisons there is a form of copper time which is time off for good behavior.|
see under dance v.
see under dead adj.
(US prison/Und.) to serve a prison sentence without becoming involved in any of the prison gangs, illicit business etc.
|Prison Sl. 25: Do Your Own Time Mind your own business and do not get involved in all the ‘cons’ or ‘games’ that are constantly being played.|
|Mr Blue 161: I did, however, think about his admonishment to do my own time. [...] It meant what it said: mind your own business, worry about your own crime, your own time, your own punishment.|
|You Got Nothing Coming 173: Do your own time . . . or someone will make you do theirs. — old head saying.|
1. to serve a prison sentence.
|Times Dec. n.p.: Both... fled to New York to save doing time on the treadmill [F&H].|
|in Sl. Dict. 323: Time, to do to work out a sentence of imprisonment.|
|Jottings from Jail 186: The offender is released, not when he has ‘done’ so much time, but when he has proved himself fit for liberty.|
|Robbery Under Arms (1922) 5: Like a lot of the Government men [...] he saved some money as soon as he had done his time.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 14 Dec. 2/1: He is now doing time in Jefferson City, Mo.|
|Riverina Recorder (Moulamein, NSW) 13 Nov. 4/4: He pitched a few cuffers, / And ‘had’ a few duffers, / But now he is doing his time.|
|Hooligan Nights 121: You have been lagged, sent to the stir, and done time.|
|Powers That Prey 247: I ain’t done such a hell of a lot o’ time compared with some blokes.|
|W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 15 Sept. 1/1: Having ‘done time’ is now a first class recommendation for applicants after a Government billet [...] a job in an important department provides a notorious pickpocket with an excuse for being at large.|
|Pitcher in Paradise 114: The man [...] on his left subsequently did ‘time’ for running a house of ill-name.|
|Marvel 12 Nov. 13: ’e’s a wrong ‘un. Done time, ’e ’as.|
|Day Book (Chicago) 6 May 21/2: ‘If your father doesn’t work, what does he do?’ ‘Time mostly, mum. He got six months ag’in yesterday’.|
|‘His Unconquerable Soul’ in Roderick (1972) 811: He was said to have ‘done time’.|
|His Last Bow in Baring-Gould (1968) II 797: Well, so was Jack James an American citizen, but he’s doin’ time in Portland all the same.|
|Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) II x: She was credited with being a sworn enemy of the police, and [...] with having done ‘time’ herself.|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 92: You start doing time the minute the handcuffs are on your wrists.|
|Little Caesar (1932) 13: I ain’t doing no time for fifty bucks.|
|Red Wind (1946) 184: ‘Listen,’ he said, still softly. ‘I did my time.’.‘Goldfish’ in|
|Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 134: I did my time [...] I didn’t get a minute off.|
|Man with the Golden Arm 228: All I done was a little stealin’ [...] Now I done my time for that.|
|Junkie (1966) 37: If a man’s going to do time, he might as well start doing it.|
|Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 16: I did time with them guys.|
|Street Players 159: What good is a bitch to me doing time?|
|Wiseguy (2001) 66: Her husband was away doing time.|
|Yardie 77: Only a fool would do time over a woman.|
|Luck in the Greater West (2008) 107: Me and dad have fuckin’ done time, and you’re fuckin’ cops.|
|Gutshot Straight [ebook] ‘Beats the food in stir?’ He smiled. ‘You ever do time?’.|
|Blacktop Wasteland 65: He had taken the whole fall. Reggie wasn’t built for doing time.|
|Opal Country 30: He did time in prison.|
2. in ext. use, irrespective of the institution.
|Knocking the Neighbors 159: All those who had Done Time at a certain endowed Institution for shaping and polishing Highbrows had to close in once a Year for a Banquet.|
|Debits and Credits (1926) 158: The dairyman’s son ’ad done time on Jordan with camels.‘The Janeites’ in|
|Haunch Paunch and Jowl 257: I’m doin’ time with a hang-over myself ... but it’s a beaut.|
|N.Y. Herald Trib. 28 Feb. 46/3: ‘Doing time’ is used for staying after school and the ‘chain gang’ refers to walking to class in groups.|
|Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 26: This bloke’s a flamin’ ratbag! He ought to be doing time in a giggle factory!!|
(US Black) the human heart.
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Apr. 7/6: You should realise that the raisers have larceny in their time-jumpers from the start.|
(US Und.) an uneventful time in prison.
|Und. and Prison Sl.|
|In For Life 169: I was doing comparatively easy time.|
|Stormy Weather 275: Snapper pleaded out [...] and got easy time.|
(UK black) for a while, for a time.
|Keisha the Sket (2021) 19: He was 1 peng boi I had been chatin 2 4 tym.|
(US Und./prison) a life sentence.
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
see separate entry.
see separate entry.
to enjoy onself, to go out on a spree.
|We Who Are About to Die 185: We landed there with three hundred dollars apiece [...] So we had ourselves a time for a couple of days.|
|Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 208: Could a guy with reasonable dough have himself a time there?|
|Popular Detective June 🌐 Willie Klump, all dressed up in a new blue serge suit, had himself a time.‘Alibi Bye’ in|
|(con. 1910s) Heed the Thunder (1994) 144: Havin’ yourself a time there, skipper?|
|(con. 1944) Rats in New Guinea 34: Their buddy was obviously having himself a time.|
|Come Monday Morning 19: I figgered you was out havin’ yourself a time.|
|Straw Boss (1979) 256: Mike took a roll of bills out of a pocket. ‘Here, have yourself a time. You earned it.’.|
(orig. US Und.) don’t take an action if you cannot deal with the concomitant responsibilities.
|On the Yard (2002) 11: They told me if I couldn’t do the time, I shouldn’t mess with crime.|
|No Beast So Fierce 107: Graffitti carved into the paint (‘If you can’t do time, don’t fuck with crime.’).|
|Carlito’s Way 43: If you can’t take the time, don’t do the crime.|
|Clockers 114: If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.|
|(con. 1998–2000) You Got Nothing Coming 154: Be a fucking man! You did the crime, now do the time!|
(US Und.) a short prison sentence.
|DAUL 125/2: Light time. 1. A brief prison sentence.et al.|
1. (US) to make a fuss [? SE difficult/hard time].
|Boston Journal 31 July 2/5: She doesn’t weep at the parting or make any time over it [DA].|
|North Amer. Rev. Feb. 228: No other troops made such a time about water as the Americans [DA].|
2. to enjoy oneself, to celebrate.
|Valley of the Moon (1914) 42: The night’s young. Let’s make a time of it – Pabst’s Cafe first, and then some.|
1. to make advances, to court, to flirt.
|Mules and Men (1995) 109: Brer’ Rabbit saw he wasn’t makin’ no time wid Miss Saphronie.|
|‘On Broadway’ 23 Jan. [synd. col.] He’s one of those cab-Casanova — makes more time than a driver does.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Rock 26: It don’t look like you made any time with her.|
|Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 183: Alex Conrad’s swacked, but makes time with some bouncy starlet.|
|Black Short Story Anthol. (1972) 82: Are ya makin’ much time with mah little sister?‘Dandy’ in King|
|(con. 1969) Suicide Charlie 46: He was toking on a cigar-sized joint and making time with the boom-boom girls.|
|Conversation with the Mann 84: She wasn’t getting what she deserved from a guy who wanted to make time with her.|
|Atomic Lobster 132: Serge [...] making time with another library science grad.|
|(con. 1963) November Road 10: She shook off a mope who tried to make time with her.|
2. to associate with.
|Teen-Age Mafia 15: She was surprised that Connie could even make time with a bunch of punks like the Dags.|
(US black) accurate, ‘on the nose’ .
|interviewee q. in Adams Ms in Gordon & Nemerov Lost Delta Found (2005) 242: Songs they sing in church now feel like fire burning. What do I mean? Well you know how fire burns; all fast and jumpy, and leapy like. Well that's just the way these swing church songs are now. Yes sir, most churches now call themselves getting on time or something the other.|
|Cruisers: A Star is Born 39: Bobbi was definitely on time thinking kids shouldn’t get messed around because they didn’t have a lot of money, but I knew how things rolled in the real world.|
1. (US prison) to be sentenced to or to serve a term of imprisonment.
|Coll. Stories 163: This jolt was getting him, he confessed to himself. It hadn’t seemed this hard pulling time before.‘Prison Mass’ in|
|DAUL 166/2: Pull time. To serve a prison sentence.et al.|
|On the Yard (2002) 43: I’ve talked to men who have pulled time all over the country.|
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
2. (US) to spend time in a place.
|Paco’s Story (1987) 23: Everybody’s pulled time at Harriette, you understand.|
(US Und.) a short prison sentence.
|Wise-crack Dict. 14/1: Sleeping Time – One year in jail.|
|DAUL 60/2: Do sleeping time. (P) To serve a very short sentence.et al.|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 246: ‘Don’t this time bother you?’ ‘Man,’ I said, grandstanding, ‘sleeping time, just sleeping time. On my head.’.|
(US prison/Und.) intellectually depleted after a long jail sentence.
|No Beast So Fierce 141: At first I thought he was dull — ‘time-drunk’ — but soon I realized it was the quiet stoicism of eighteen years behind bars.|
(US Und.) a short sentence.
|Prison Sl. 24: Wino Time A short sentence.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Straight from the Fridge Dad.|
imper., mind your own business!
|Bounty of Texas (1990) 203: ‘Do your own time!’ v. – ‘Mind your own business!’.‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy|
SE in slang uses
a thief who specializes in snatching expensive watches.
|Indep. 23 July 4: The so-called ‘time bandits’ tend to work more in the summer when people are wearing short-sleeved clothes.|
of a man, to have sexual intercourse.
|Catcher in the Rye (1958) 47: ‘What’d you do?’ I said. ‘Give her the time in Ed Bandky’s goddam car?’.|
to make someone unhappy, to punish, to reprimand; to cause problems for.
|Chillicothe Constitution (MO) 26 June 2/2: They threaten to give the government a hot time ejecting them.|
|Ulysses 443: I’ll make it hot for you. I’ll make you dance jack Latten for that.|
|(con. 1830s–60s) All That Swagger 118: If I catch him meddling with my beasts, I’ll make it hot for him.|
in a non-sexual sense, a joc. phr. delivered to one who asks ‘Have you got the time?’.
|🎵 We'll make all the night spots, dance, drink beer and wine / If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time .‘If You've Got the Money (I've Got the Time)’|
|DSUE (8th edn) 538: [...] since at least as early as 1920s.|
to be well aware of what is going on.
|‘Nocturnal Sports’ in Universal Songster II 180/1: No use sending nabs arter me [...] the vatch knows what’s o’ clock.|
|Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) III 54: The cove knows the time o’day, the lush (wine), meat, and salad.|
|Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 127: Time o’ day, quite right, the thing.|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 8 Dec. 3/1: A non wide-awake personage named John Murphy who was evidently not well up to ‘the time o’ day’ in Sydney, .|
|‘The Grog-an’-Grumble Steeplechase’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 216: But he said he had the knowledge to come in when it was raining, / And irrelevantly mentioned that he knew the time of day.|
|Aus. Sl. Dict. 54: ‘[T]o know what’s o’clock,’ to be wide awake, sharp, experienced.|
|‘’Arry on Blues and Bluestockings’ in Punch 21 Mar. 135/2: Does she think that a ’Varsity Don is a similar species of fowl, / As big and as bleared in the goggles, as blind to the true time o’ day?|
|Shiralee 51: Some drunk who was so stewed he didn’t know what day it was.|
|Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 61: They were a couple of smart lads who knew the time of day.|
to be aware, to know what is going on; often in neg.
|Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 19: He who knows ‘which way the Bull ran’ [...] may be considered as ‘one who knows what o’clock it is.’.|
|Dickens’ Journalism I (1994) 429: Our governor’s wide awake, he is, I’ll never say nothin’ agin him, nor no man; but he knows what’s o’clock, he does, uncommon.‘A Passage in the Life of Mr. Watkins Tottle’ in Slater|
|(con. 1820s) Settlers & Convicts 321: The man that was driving the Bathurst herd was a regular muff (booby), and never dropped down what o'clock it was (did not detect the scheme).|
|Pendennis I 94: I’m not clever, p’raps; but I am rather downy; and partial friends say I know what’s o’clock tolerably well.|
|‘Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug’ in Musa Pedestris (1896) 153: But soon in his eye nothing green would remain, / He knows what’s o’clock when he comes out again.|
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 70: ‘To know what o’clock it is,’ to be wide awake, sharp and experienced.|
|Little Ragamuffin 135: You a green hand! You tell that to fellers as don’t know what’s o’clock.|
|Wilds of London (1881) 139: An earnestness [...] calculated to impress the two young ladies that though young they are lads of mettle and knowing cards, [...] possessing a knowledge of the time of day to a fraction of a tick.|
|Robbery Under Arms (1922) 207: As for old Mullockson, he used to take a drive to Sawpit Gully or ten-Mile as soon as ever he saw what o’clock it was.|
|Indiana Eve. Gazette 20 Mar. 9/2: A well-informed individual is said to ‘know the right time.’.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 545: Mr. Paul D. Veere knows what time it is when it comes to riding.‘It Comes Up Mud’ in|
|Little Men, Big World 154: You damn idiot — when Leon was here she didn’t know the time of day. Now she runs the joint.|
|🎵 Due the the fact that no one else out there knew what time it was, we have to tell you a little story.‘South Bronx’|
|Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 239: They didn’t know who they were or what time it was.|
|Tuff 40: After I read this, you’ll know what time it is.|
|Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] No wonder that woman on the bike didn’t feel the cold. She wouldn’t know what day it was.|
|Pain Killers 37: The worst kind of civilian - the kind who thought he knew what time it was.|
|🎵 You know what time it is, girl, you can see my Rolly.‘Sicker Than Yo Average’|
|Blacktop Wasteland 105: ‘You didn’t have to tell me that. I already know what time it is’.|
|What They Was 118: Hold them tight enough so they know what time it is.|
(W.I. Rasta) see you later.
|‘Patois Dict.’ www.dancehallareaz.com 🌐.|
1. (US black) fashionable, chic.
|N.Y. Age 26 Apr. 9/7: My attire [is] really on time, found in Vogue...From head to feet, it’s solid neat.‘Observation Post’ in|
2. (US black) at the emotionally or psychologically apposite moment (rather than the chronologically prompt one); of good quality; thus get on time, to have fun.
|Jive and Sl. n.p.: Getting on time ... Having fun.|
|Third Ear n.p.: on time adj. quite appropriate.|
|Casino Moon 159: ‘I’m dancing with this girl and she’s beautiful, you know. The ass was like right on time and she had the kind of titties you see in them magazines’.|
|Campus Sl. Nov. 8: on time – good: ‘That CD I bought last week is on time.’.|
|Check the Technique 223: ‘[W]e started talking about how we was raised and what the neighborhood was all about. They were right on time with the stuff I was saying, stuff that the other guys before them just couldn’t feel’.|
3. attrib. use of sense 1.
|Golden Orange (1991) 115: She can’t afford an on-time guy like me.|
to spend time, to occupy one’s time.
|Scrambled Yeggs 34: This is the first really big thing I’ve had a chance at – putting my own time in on it.|
(orig. US black) to explain, to ‘put someone in the picture’, to ‘teach someone a lesson’.
|Central Sl. 52: tell him what time it is A request to someone to corroborate, for a third party, what one has said.|
|Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and Bohos (1994) 143: My mom and sis told me what time it was vis-à-vis white girls.‘Women of Color’ in|
|Way Past Cool 20: Ain’t gonna catch me cryin when the Crew come down an show you what time it is!|
|Pimp’s Rap 65: I’m glad you set your alarm clock and woke up Kid. Now I’m gonna tell you what time it is.|
1. the current situation, what is going on; thus put one up to the time of day, to explain the situation to one.
|Dialogue between a Popish Priest, and an English Protestant (1839) 113: No, Friend, it is not that time of Day; you cannot now deceive us with such foolish excuses.|
|‘World Turn’d Upside Down’ inI (1975) 283: For we don’t lend our money to fools, / No, no, that’s not the time of day.|
|Bell’s Wkly Messenger 11 Dec. 398/1: He got lagged and scragged — that’s time of day with the best ’uns — a rope for their cravat, and cotton in their ears.|
|Musa Pedestris (1896) 131: Who took me from my infant play [...] And put me up to the time of day?‘My Mother’ in Farmer|
|Pendennis I 93: Partial friends say I know what’s o’clock tolerably well. Can I tell you the time of day in any way?|
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 237: TIME O’DAY [...] the latest aspect of affairs [...] to put a person up to the time o’ day, let him know what is o’ clock.|
|Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1860].|
2. a trick, a ruse, the practice of theft.
|‘Pickpocket’s Chaunt’ (trans. of ‘En roulant de vergne en vergne’ in1829) IV 259: As from ken to ken I was going, [...] Who should I meet but a jolly blowen, Who was fly to the time o’ day.|
|(con. 1737–9) Rookwood (1857) 178: The knucks in quod [fn: Thieves in prison] did my schoolmen play, And put me up to the time of day; Until at last there was none so knowing.|
|‘Nix My Dolly’ Dublin Comic Songster 3: The huncks [sic] in quod did my schoolmen play, / And put me up to the time o’ day.|
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
3. the correct or pertinent thing or situation.
|Pickwick Papers (1999) 528: Lend him a hand, Mr Vinkle, Sir. Steady, Sir, steady; that’s the time o’ day.|
(N.Z. prison) time serving a sentence, i.e. time ‘out of one’s life’.
|Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 189/2: time out n. 1 a period of time spent in prison.|
(US) a question, often deriving from one’s incomprehension or surprise, ‘what on earth’, ‘what in the world’ etc.
|Correspondence (1898) 250: Why in Time don’t you come our way and see the boys?|
|Boys of Fairport 201: What’n time are you fellers up to? [DA].|
|Merton of Movies 5: Merton Gill, what in the sacred name of Time are you meanin’ to do with that dummy?|