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A 19th century Father Time with Baby New Year
Detail of Father Time in the Rotunda Clock (1896) by John Flanagan, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Father Time in Fountain of Time
Allegorical Portrait of Elizabeth I with Old Father Time at her left in the background and Death at her right (dated around 1610)

Father Time is a personification of time. He is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, dressed in a robe, carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (representing time's constant movement). This image derives from many sources, including the Grim Reaper and Chronos, the Greek god of time.

Because of their similarity in name as pertaining to parental figures, he is sometimes paired with Mother Nature/Earth as a married couple.[citation needed]

In various New Year's Eve customs, Father Time's image is used as the personification of the previous year (or "the Old Year"), who "hands over" the duties of time to the Baby New Year (or "the New Year"). In this case, his old age is emphasized (in particular, he may be depicted walking with the aid of a stick).

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Proper noun

Singular
Father Time

Plural
-

Father Time

  1. A personification of time as an old man, usually carrying an hourglass.

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