Time: Wikis


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The flow of sand in an hourglass can be used to keep track of elapsed time. It also concretely represents the present as being between the past and the future.
Pocket watches are used to keep track of time.

Time is part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify the motions of objects. Time has been a major subject of religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars.

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. Time is used to define other quantities — such as velocity — so defining time in terms of such quantities would result in circularity of definition.[1] An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is highly useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life. The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured. Investigations of a single continuum called spacetime bring questions about space into questions about time, questions that have their roots in the works of early students of natural philosophy.

Among prominent philosophers, there are two distinct viewpoints on time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence. Time travel, in this view, becomes a possibility as other "times" persist like frames of a film strip, spread out across the time line. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.[2][3] The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events. This second view, in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz[4] and Immanuel Kant,[5][6] holds that time is neither an event nor a thing, and thus is not itself measurable nor can it be travelled.

Temporal measurement has occupied scientists and technologists, and was a prime motivation in navigation and astronomy. Periodic events and periodic motion have long served as standards for units of time. Examples include the apparent motion of the sun across the sky, the phases of the moon, the swing of a pendulum, and the beat of a heart. Currently, the international unit of time, the second, is defined in terms of radiation emitted by caesium atoms (see below). Time is also of significant social importance, having economic value ("time is money") as well as personal value, due to an awareness of the limited time in each day and in human life spans.


Temporal measurement

Temporal measurement, or chronometry, takes two distinct period forms: the calendar, a mathematical abstraction for calculating extensive periods of time,[7] and the clock, a concrete mechanism that counts the ongoing passage of time. In day-to-day life, the clock is consulted for periods less than a day, the calendar, for periods longer than a day. Increasingly, personal electronic devices display both calendars and clocks simultaneously. The number (as on a clock dial or calendar) that marks the occurrence of a specified event as to hour or date is obtained by counting from a fiducial epoch—a central reference point.

History of the calendar

Artifacts from the Palaeolithic suggest that the moon was used to calculate time as early as 12,000, and possibly even 30,000 BP.[8] Lunar calendars were among the first to appear, with all years having twelve lunar months (approximately 354 days). Without intercalation to add days or months to some years, seasons quickly drift in a calendar based solely on twelve lunar months. Lunisolar calendars have a thirteenth month added to some years to make up for the difference between a full year (now known to be about 365.24 days) and a year of just twelve lunar months. The numbers twelve and thirteen came to feature prominently in many cultures, at least partly due to this relationship of months to years.

The reforms of Julius Caesar in 45 BC put the Roman world on a solar calendar. This Julian calendar was faulty in that its intercalation still allowed the astronomical solstices and equinoxes to advance against it by about 11 minutes per year. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a correction in 1582; the Gregorian calendar was only slowly adopted by different nations over a period of centuries, but is today by far the one in most common use around the world.

History of time measurement devices

Horizontal sundial in Taganrog (1833)

A large variety of devices have been invented to measure time. The study of these devices is called horology.

An Egyptian device dating to c.1500 BC, similar in shape to a bent T-square, measured the passage of time from the shadow cast by its crossbar on a non-linear rule. The T was oriented eastward in the mornings. At noon, the device was turned around so that it could cast its shadow in the evening direction.[9]

A sundial uses a gnomon to cast a shadow on a set of markings which were calibrated to the hour. The position of the shadow marked the hour in local time.

The most precise timekeeping devices of the ancient world were the water clock or clepsydra, one of which was found in the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC). They could be used to measure the hours even at night, but required manual upkeep to replenish the flow of water. The Greeks and Chaldeans regularly maintained timekeeping records as an essential part of their astronomical observations. Arab inventors and engineers in particular made improvements on the use of water clocks up to the Middle Ages.[10] In the 11th century, the Chinese inventors and engineers invented the first mechanical clocks to be driven by an escapement mechanism.

A contemporary quartz watch

The hourglass uses the flow of sand to measure the flow of time. They were used in navigation. Ferdinand Magellan used 18 glasses on each ship for his circumnavigation of the globe (1522).[11] Incense sticks and candles were, and are, commonly used to measure time in temples and churches across the globe. Waterclocks, and later, mechanical clocks, were used to mark the events of the abbeys and monasteries of the Middle Ages. Richard of Wallingford (1292–1336), abbot of St. Alban's abbey, famously built a mechanical clock as an astronomical orrery about 1330.[12][13] Great advances in accurate time-keeping were made by Galileo Galilei and especially Christiaan Huygens with the invention of pendulum driven clocks.

The English word clock probably comes from the Middle Dutch word "klocke" which is in turn derived from the mediaeval Latin word "clocca", which is ultimately derived from Celtic, and is cognate with French, Latin, and German words that mean bell. The passage of the hours at sea were marked by bells, and denoted the time (see ship's bells). The hours were marked by bells in the abbeys as well as at sea.

A chip-scale atomic clock

Clocks can range from watches, to more exotic varieties such as the Clock of the Long Now. They can be driven by a variety of means, including gravity, springs, and various forms of electrical power, and regulated by a variety of means such as a pendulum.

A chronometer is a portable timekeeper that meets certain precision standards. Initially, the term was used to refer to the marine chronometer, a timepiece used to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation, a precision firstly achieved by John Harrison. More recently, the term has also been applied to the chronometer watch, a wristwatch that meets precision standards set by the Swiss agency COSC.

The most accurate timekeeping devices are atomic clocks, which are accurate to seconds in many millions of years,[14] and are used to calibrate other clocks and timekeeping instruments. Atomic clocks use the spin property of atoms as their basis, and since 1967, the International System of Measurements bases its unit of time, the second, on the properties of caesium atoms. SI defines the second as 9,192,631,770 cycles of that radiation which corresponds to the transition between two electron spin energy levels of the ground state of the 133Cs atom.

Today, the Global Positioning System in coordination with the Network Time Protocol can be used to synchronize timekeeping systems across the globe.

In medieval philosophical writings, the atom was a unit of time referred to as the smallest possible division of time. The earliest known occurrence in English is in Byrhtferth's Enchiridion (a science text) of 1010–1012,[15] where it was defined as 1/564 of a momentum (1½ minutes),[16] and thus equal to 15/94 of a second. It was used in the computus, the process of calculating the date of Easter.

As of 2006, the smallest unit of time that has been directly measured is on the attosecond (10−18 s) time scale, or around 1026 Planck times.[17][18][19]

Definitions and standards

Common units of time
Unit Size Notes
attosecond 1/1018 s shortest time now measurable
femtosecond 1/1015 s pulse time on fastest lasers
picosecond 1/1012 s
nanosecond 1/109 s time for molecules to fluoresce
microsecond 1/106 s
millisecond 0.001 s
second SI base unit
minute 60 s
hour 60 minutes
day 24 hours
week 7 days Also called sennight
fortnight 14 days 2 weeks
lunar month 27.2–29.5 days Various definitions of lunar month exist.
month 28–31 days
quarter 3 months
year 12 months
common year 365 days 52 weeks + 1 day
leap year 366 days 52 weeks + 2 days
tropical year 365.24219 days average
Gregorian year 365.2425 days average
Olympiad 4 year cycle
lustrum 5 years Also called pentad
decade 10 years
Indiction 15 year cycle
generation 17–25 years approximate
jubilee (Biblical) 50 years
century 100 years
millennium 1,000 years

The SI base unit for time is the SI second. From the second, larger units such as the minute, hour and day are defined, though they are "non-SI" units because they do not use the decimal system, and also because of the occasional need for a leap second. They are, however, officially accepted for use with the International System. There are no fixed ratios between seconds and months or years as months and years have significant variations in length.[20]

The official SI definition of the second is as follows:[20][21]

The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

At its 1997 meeting, the CIPM affirmed that this definition refers to a caesium atom in its ground state at a temperature of 0 K.[20] Previous to 1967, the second was defined as:

the fraction 1/31,556,925.9747 of the tropical year for 1900 January 0 at 12 hours ephemeris time.

The current definition of the second, coupled with the current definition of the metre, is based on the special theory of relativity, which affirms our space-time to be a Minkowski space.

World time

Time keeping is so critical to the functioning of modern societies that it is coordinated at an international level. The basis for scientific time is a continuous count of seconds based on atomic clocks around the world, known as the International Atomic Time (TAI). Other scientific time standards include Terrestrial Time and Barycentric Dynamical Time.

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the basis for modern civil time. Since January 1, 1972, it has been defined to follow TAI with an exact offset of an integer number of seconds, changing only when a leap second is added to keep clock time synchronized with the rotation of the Earth. In TAI and UTC systems, the duration of a second is constant, as it is defined by the unchanging transition period of the cesium atom.

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is an older standard, adopted starting with British railroads in 1847. Using telescopes instead of atomic clocks, GMT was calibrated to the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in the UK. Universal Time (UT) is the modern term for the international telescope-based system, adopted to replace "Greenwich Mean Time" in 1928 by the International Astronomical Union. Observations at the Greenwich Observatory itself ceased in 1954, though the location is still used as the basis for the coordinate system. Because the rotational period of Earth is not perfectly constant, the duration of a second would vary if calibrated to a telescope-based standard like GMT or UT - in which a second was defined as a fraction of a day or year. The terms "GMT" and "Greenwich Mean Time" are sometimes used informally to refer to UT or UTC.

The Global Positioning System also broadcasts a very precise time signal worldwide, along with instructions for converting GPS time to UTC.

Earth is split up into a number of time zones. Most time zones are exactly one hour apart, and by convention compute their local time as an offset from UTC or GMT. In many locations these offsets vary twice yearly due to daylight saving time transitions.

Sidereal time

Sidereal time is the measurement of time relative to a distant star (instead of solar time that is relative to the sun). It is used in astronomy to predict when a star will be overhead. Due to the rotation of the earth around the sun a sidereal day is 4 minutes (1/366th) less than a solar day.


Another form of time measurement consists of studying the past. Events in the past can be ordered in a sequence (creating a chronology), and can be put into chronological groups (periodization). One of the most important systems of periodization is geologic time, which is a system of periodizing the events that shaped the Earth and its life. Chronology, periodization, and interpretation of the past are together known as the study of history.


In the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes, traditionally ascribed to Solomon (970–928 BC), time (as the Hebrew word עדן, זמן `iddan(time) zĕman(season) is often translated) was traditionally regarded as a medium for the passage of predestined events. (Another word, זמן zman, was current as meaning time fit for an event, and is used as the modern Hebrew equivalent to the English word "time".)

There is an appointed time (zman) for everything. And there is a time (’êth) for every event under heaven–
A time (’êth) to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

Linear and cyclical time

In general, the Judaeo-Christian concept, based on the Bible, is that time is linear, with a beginning, the act of creation by God. The Christian view assumes also an end, the eschaton, expected to happen when Jesus returns to earth in the Second Coming to judge the living and the dead. This will be the consummation of the world and time. St Augustine's City of God was the first developed application of this concept to world history. The Christian view is that God is uncreated and eternal so that He and the supernatural world are outside time and exist in eternity.

Ancient cultures such as Incan, Mayan, Hopi, and other Native American Tribes, plus the Babylonian, Ancient Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, and others have a concept of a wheel of time, that regards time as cyclical and quantic consisting of repeating ages that happen to every being of the Universe between birth and extinction.

Numeric and Divine time

The Greek language denotes two distinct principles, Chronos and Kairos. The former refers to numeric, or chronological, time. The latter, literally "the right or opportune moment," relates specifically to metaphysical or Divine time. In theology, Kairos is qualitative, as opposed to quantitative.


The Vedas, the earliest texts on Indian philosophy and Hindu philosophy dating back to the late 2nd millennium BC, describe ancient Hindu cosmology, in which the universe goes through repeated cycles of creation, destruction and rebirth, with each cycle lasting 4,320,000 years. Ancient Greek philosophers, including Parmenides and Heraclitus, wrote essays on the nature of time.[22]

In Book 11 of St. Augustine's Confessions, he ruminates on the nature of time, asking, "What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not." He settles on time being defined more by what it is not than what it is,[23] an approach similar to that taken in other negative definitions.

In contrast to ancient Greek philosophers who believed that the universe had an infinite past with no beginning, medieval philosophers and theologians developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning. This view is not shared by Abrahamic faiths as they believe time started by creation, therefore the only thing being infinite is God and everything else, including time, is finite.

Newton's belief in absolute space, and a precursor to Kantian time, Leibniz believed that time and space are relational.[24] The differences between Leibniz's and Newton's interpretations came to a head in the famous Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence.

Immanuel Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, described time as an a priori intuition that allows us (together with the other a priori intuition, space) to comprehend sense experience.[25] With Kant, neither space nor time are conceived as substances, but rather both are elements of a systematic mental framework that necessarily structures the experiences of any rational agent, or observing subject. Kant thought of time as a fundamental part of an abstract conceptual framework, together with space and number, within which we sequence events, quantify their duration, and compare the motions of objects. In this view, time does not refer to any kind of entity that "flows," that objects "move through," or that is a "container" for events. Spatial measurements are used to quantify the extent of and distances between objects, and temporal measurements are used to quantify the durations of and between events. (See Ontology).

Henri Bergson believed that time was neither a real homogeneous medium nor a mental construct, but possesses what he referred to as Duration. Duration, in Bergson's view, was creativity and memory as an essential component of reality.[26]

Time as "unreal"

In 5th century BC Greece, Antiphon the Sophist, in a fragment preserved from his chief work On Truth held that: "Time is not a reality (hypostasis), but a concept (noêma) or a measure (metron)." Parmenides went further, maintaining that time, motion, and change were illusions, leading to the paradoxes of his follower Zeno.[27] Time as illusion is also a common theme in Buddhist thought,[28] and some modern philosophers have carried on with this theme. J. M. E. McTaggart's 1908 The Unreality of Time, for example, argues that time is unreal (see also The flow of time).

However, these arguments often center around what it means for something to be "real". Modern physicists generally consider time to be as "real" as space, though others such as Julian Barbour in his book The End of Time, argue that quantum equations of the universe take their true form when expressed in the timeless configuration spacerealm containing every possible "Now" or momentary configuration of the universe, which he terms 'platonia'.[29] (See also: Eternalism (philosophy of time).)

Physical definition

From the age of Newton up until Einstein's profound reinterpretation of the physical concepts associated with time and space, time was considered to be "absolute" and to flow "equably" (to use the words of Newton) for all observers.[30] The science of classical mechanics is based on this Newtonian idea of time.

Einstein, in his special theory of relativity,[31] postulated the constancy and finiteness of the speed of light for all observers. He showed that this postulate, together with a reasonable definition for what it means for two events to be simultaneous, requires that distances appear compressed and time intervals appear lengthened for events associated with objects in motion relative to an inertial observer.

Einstein showed that if time and space is measured using electromagnetic phenomena (like light bouncing between mirrors) then due to the constancy of the speed of light, time and space become mathematically entangled together in a certain way (called Minkowski space) which in turn results in Lorentz transformation and in entanglement of all other important derivative physical quantities (like energy, momentum, mass, force, etc) in a certain 4-vectorial way (see special relativity for more details).

Classical mechanics
History of ...
Fundamental concepts
Space · Time · Mass · Force
Energy · Momentum

Classical mechanics

In classical mechanics, Newton's concept of "relative, apparent, and common time" can be used in the formulation of a prescription for the synchronization of clocks. Events seen by two different observers in motion relative to each other produce a mathematical concept of time that works pretty well for describing the everyday phenomena of most people's experience.

Modern physics

In the late nineteenth century, physicists encountered problems with the classical understanding of time, in connection with the behavior of electricity and magnetism. Einstein resolved these problems by invoking a method of synchronizing clocks using the constant, finite speed of light as the maximum signal velocity. This led directly to the result that observers in motion relative to one another will measure different elapsed times for the same event.

Two-dimensional space depicted in three-dimensional spacetime. The past and future light cones are absolute, the "present" is a relative concept different for observers in relative motion.


Time has historically been closely related with space, the two together comprising spacetime in Einstein's special relativity and general relativity. According to these theories, the concept of time depends on the spatial reference frame of the observer, and the human perception as well as the measurement by instruments such as clocks are different for observers in relative motion. The past is the set of events that can send light signals to the observer, the future is the set of events to which the observer can send light signals.

Time dilation

Relativity of simultaneity: Event B is simultaneous with A in the green reference frame, but it occurred before in the blue frame, and will occur later in the red frame.

"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once". This quote, attributed variously to Einstein, John Archibald Wheeler, and Woody Allen, says that time is what separates cause and effect. Einstein showed in his thought experiments that people travelling at different speeds, while agreeing on cause and effect, will measure different time separations between events and can even observe different chronological orderings between non-causally related events. Though these effects are typically minute in the human experience, the effect becomes much more pronounced for objects moving at speeds approaching the speed of light. Many subatomic particles exist for only a fixed fraction of a second in a lab relatively at rest, but some that travel close to the speed of light can be measured to travel further and survive much longer than expected (a muon is one example). According to the special theory of relativity, in the high-speed particle's frame of reference, it exists, on the average, for a standard amount of time known as its mean lifetime, and the distance it travels in that time is zero, because its velocity is zero. Relative to a frame of reference at rest, time seems to "slow down" for the particle. Relative to the high-speed particle, distances seem to shorten. Even in Newtonian terms time may be considered the fourth dimension of motion; but Einstein showed how both temporal and spatial dimensions can be altered (or "warped") by high-speed motion.

Einstein (The Meaning of Relativity): "Two events taking place at the points A and B of a system K are simultaneous if they appear at the same instant when observed from the middle point, M, of the interval AB. Time is then defined as the ensemble of the indications of similar clocks, at rest relatively to K, which register the same simultaneously."

Einstein wrote in his book, Relativity, that simultaneity is also relative, i.e., two events that appear simultaneous to an observer in a particular inertial reference frame need not be judged as simultaneous by a second observer in a different inertial frame of reference.

Relativistic time versus Newtonian time

Views of spacetime along the world line of a rapidly accelerating observer in a relativistic universe. The events ("dots") that pass the two diagonal lines in the bottom half of the image (the past light cone of the observer in the origin) are the events visible to the observer.

The animations visualise the different treatments of time in the Newtonian and the relativistic descriptions. At heart of these differences are the Galilean and Lorentz transformations applicable in the Newtonian and relativistic theories, respectively.

In the figures, the vertical direction indicates time. The horizontal direction indicates distance (only one spatial dimension is taken into account), and the thick dashed curve is the spacetime trajectory ("world line") of the observer. The small dots indicate specific (past and future) events in spacetime.

The slope of the world line (deviation from being vertical) gives the relative velocity to the observer. Note how in both pictures the view of spacetime changes when the observer accelerates.

In the Newtonian description these changes are such that time is absolute: the movements of the observer do not influence whether an event occurs in the 'now' (i.e. whether an event passes the horizontal line through the observer).

However, in the relativistic description the observability of events is absolute: the movements of the observer do not influence whether an event passes the "light cone" of the observer. Notice that with the change from a Newtonian to a relativistic description, the concept of absolute time is no longer applicable: events move up-and-down in the figure depending on the acceleration of the observer.

Arrow of time

Time appears to have a direction – the past lies behind, fixed and incommutable, while the future lies ahead and is not necessarily fixed. Yet the majority of the laws of physics don't provide this arrow of time. The exceptions include the Second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy must increase over time (see Entropy); the cosmological arrow of time, which points away from the Big Bang, and the radiative arrow of time, caused by light only traveling forwards in time. In particle physics, there is also the weak arrow of time, from CPT symmetry, and also measurement in quantum mechanics (see Measurement in quantum mechanics).

Quantised time

Time quantization is a hypothetical concept. In the modern established physical theories (the Standard Model of Particles and Interactions and General Relativity) time is not quantized.

Planck time (~ 5.4 × 10−44 seconds) is the unit of time in the system of natural units known as Planck units. Current established physical theories are believed to fail at this time scale, and many physicists expect that the Planck time might be the smallest unit of time that could ever be measured, even in principle. Tentative physical theories that describe this time scale exist; see for instance loop quantum gravity.

Time and the Big Bang

Stephen Hawking in particular has addressed a connection between time and the Big Bang. In A Brief History of Time and elsewhere, Hawking says that even if time did not begin with the Big Bang and there were another time frame before the Big Bang, no information from events then would be accessible to us, and nothing that happened then would have any effect upon the present time-frame.[32] Upon occasion, Hawking has stated that time actually began with the Big Bang, and that questions about what happened before the Big Bang are meaningless.[33][34][35] This less-nuanced, but commonly repeated formulation has received criticisms from philosophers such as Aristotelian philosopher Mortimer J. Adler.[36][37]

Scientists have come to some agreement on descriptions of events that happened 10−35 seconds after the Big Bang, but generally agree that descriptions about what happened before one Planck time (5 × 10−44 seconds) after the Big Bang will likely remain pure speculation.

Speculative physics beyond the Big Bang

A graphical representation of the expansion of the universe with the inflationary epoch represented as the dramatic expansion of the metric seen on the left. Image from WMAP press release, 2006.

While the Big Bang model is well established in cosmology, it is likely to be refined in the future. Little is known about the earliest moments of the universe's history. The Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems require the existence of a singularity at the beginning of cosmic time. However, these theorems assume that general relativity is correct, but general relativity must break down before the universe reaches the Planck temperature, and a correct treatment of quantum gravity may avoid the singularity.[38]

There may also be parts of the universe well beyond what can be observed in principle. If inflation occurred this is likely, for exponential expansion would push large regions of space beyond our observable horizon.

Some proposals, each of which entails untested hypotheses, are:

in which inflation is due to the movement of branes in string theory; the pre-big bang model; the ekpyrotic model, in which the Big Bang is the result of a collision between branes; and the cyclic model, a variant of the ekpyrotic model in which collisions occur periodically.[41][42][43]

  • chaotic inflation, in which inflation events start here and there in a random quantum-gravity foam, each leading to a bubble universe expanding from its own big bang.[44]

Proposals in the last two categories see the Big Bang as an event in a much larger and older universe, or multiverse, and not the literal beginning.

Time travel

Time travel is the concept of moving backwards and/or forwards to different points in time, in a manner analogous to moving through space and different from the normal "flow" of time to an earthbound observer. Although time travel has been a plot device in fiction since the 19th century, and one-way travel into the future is arguably possible given the phenomenon of time dilation in the theory of relativity, it is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow time travel to the past. Any technological device, whether fictional or hypothetical, that is used to achieve time travel is known as a time machine.

A central problem with time travel to the past is the violation of causality; should an effect precede its cause, it would give rise to the possibility of temporal paradox. Some interpretations of time travel resolve this by accepting the possibility of travel between parallel realities or universes.

Theory would point toward there having to be a physical dimension in which one could travel to, where the present (i.e. the point that which you are leaving) would be present at a point fixed in either the past or future. Seeing as this theory would be dependent upon the theory of a multiverse, it is uncertain how or if it would be possible to just prove the possibility of time travel.

Another solution to the problem of causality-based temporal paradoxes is that such paradoxes cannot arise simply because they have not arisen. As described in the novel The Time Traveler's Wife and alluded to in the movie The Terminator, free will either ceases to exist in the past or the outcomes of such decisions are predetermined. As such, it would not be possible to enact the grandfather paradox because it is a historical fact that your grandfather was not killed. This view simply holds that history is an unchangeable constant.

Judgement of time

The specious present refers to the time duration wherein one's perceptions are considered to be in the present. The experienced present is said to be ‘specious’ in that, unlike the objective present, it is an interval and not a durationless instant. The term specious present was first introduced by the psychologist E.R. Clay, and later developed by William James.[45]


The brain's judgement of time is known to be a highly distributed system, including at least the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and basal ganglia as its components. One particular component, the suprachiasmatic nuclei, is responsible for the circadian (or daily) rhythm, while other cell clusters appear to be capable of shorter-range (ultradian) timekeeping.

Psychoactive drugs can impair the judgement of time. Stimulants can lead both humans and rats to overestimate time intervals. [46][47] while depressants can have the opposite effect.[48] The level of activity in the brain of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and adrenaline may be the reason for this.[49]

Mental chronometry is the use of response time in perceptual-motor tasks to infer the content, duration, and temporal sequencing of cognitive operations. Experiments have shown rats successfully estimating intervals of time.[50]


In addition to psychoactive drugs, judgements of time can be altered by temporal illusions (like the kappa effect[51] ), age,[52] hypnosis,[53] and travel at the speed of light. The sense of time is impaired in some people with neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and attention deficit disorder.

It is a known phenomenon that long periods of time appear to pass faster as people grow older. Stephen Hawking, also suggests that the judgement of time is a function of age, according to a ratio- Unit of Time : Time Lived.[citation needed] For example, one day to a six-year-old person would be approximately 1/2,192 of their life, while one day to a 27-year-old would be approximately 1/10,000 of their life. According to such an interpretation, a day would appear much longer to a young child than to an adult, even though the measure of time is the same.

Use of time

In sociology and anthropology, time discipline is the general name given to social and economic rules, conventions, customs, and expectations governing the measurement of time, the social currency and awareness of time measurements, and people's expectations concerning the observance of these customs by others.

The use of time is an important issue in understanding human behaviour, education, and travel behaviour. Time use research is a developing field of study. The question concerns how time is allocated across a number of activities (such as time spent at home, at work, shopping, etc.). Time use changes with technology, as the television or the Internet created new opportunities to use time in different ways. However, some aspects of time use are relatively stable over long periods of time, such as the amount of time spent traveling to work, which despite major changes in transport, has been observed to be about 20–30 minutes one-way for a large number of cities over a long period of time.

Time management is the organization of tasks or events by first estimating how much time a task will take to be completed, when it must be completed, and then adjusting events that would interfere with its completion so that completion is reached in the appropriate amount of time. Calendars and day planners are common examples of time management tools.

Arlie Russell Hochschild and Norbert Elias have written on the use of time from a sociological perspective.

See also

Time's mortal aspect is personified in this bronze statue by Charles van der Stappen
See the Time navigation templates below for an exhaustive list of related articles.




Leading scholarly organizations for researchers on the history and technology of time and timekeeping

Miscellaneous arts and sciences

Miscellaneous units of time

Category: Horology

Notes and references

  1. ^ Duff, Okun, Veneziano, ibid. p. 3. "There is no well established terminology for the fundamental constants of Nature. … The absence of accurately defined terms or the uses (i.e. actually misuses) of ill-defined terms lead to confusion and proliferation of wrong statements."
  2. ^ Rynasiewicz, Robert : Johns Hopkins University (2004-08-12). "Newton's Views on Space, Time, and Motion". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-stm/. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "Newton did not regard space and time as genuine substances (as are, paradigmatically, bodies and minds), but rather as real entities with their own manner of existence as necessitated by God's existence... To paraphrase: Absolute, true, and mathematical time, from its own nature, passes equably without relation the [sic~to] anything external, and thus without reference to any change or way of measuring of time (e.g., the hour, day, month, or year)." 
  3. ^ Markosian, Ned. "Time". in Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2002 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/#3. "The opposing view, normally referred to either as “Platonism with Respect to Time” or as “Absolutism with Respect to Time,” has been defended by Plato, Newton, and others. On this view, time is like an empty container into which events may be placed; but it is a container that exists independently of whether or not anything is placed in it.". 
  4. ^ Burnham, Douglas : Staffordshire University (2006). "Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) Metaphysics - 7. Space, Time, and Indiscernibles". The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/leib-met.htm#H7. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "First of all, Leibniz finds the idea that space and time might be substances or substance-like absurd (see, for example, "Correspondence with Clarke," Leibniz's Fourth Paper, §8ff). In short, an empty space would be a substance with no properties; it will be a substance that even God cannot modify or destroy.... That is, space and time are internal or intrinsic features of the complete concepts of things, not extrinsic.... Leibniz's view has two major implications. First, there is no absolute location in either space or time; location is always the situation of an object or event relative to other objects and events. Second, space and time are not in themselves real (that is, not substances). Space and time are, rather, ideal. Space and time are just metaphysically illegitimate ways of perceiving certain virtual relations between substances. They are phenomena or, strictly speaking, illusions (although they are illusions that are well-founded upon the internal properties of substances).... It is sometimes convenient to think of space and time as something "out there," over and above the entities and their relations to each other, but this convenience must not be confused with reality. Space is nothing but the order of co-existent objects; time nothing but the order of successive events. This is usually called a relational theory of space and time." 
  5. ^ Mattey, G. J. : UC Davis (1997-01-22). "Critique of Pure Reason, Lecture notes: Philosophy 175 UC Davis". http://www-philosophy.ucdavis.edu/mattey/kant/TIMELEC.HTM. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "What is correct in the Leibnizian view was its anti-metaphysical stance. Space and time do not exist in and of themselves, but in some sense are the product of the way we represent things. The are ideal, though not in the sense in which Leibniz thought they are ideal (figments of the imagination). The ideality of space is its mind-dependence: it is only a condition of sensibility.... Kant concluded "absolute space is not an object of outer sensation; it is rather a fundamental concept which first of all makes possible all such outer sensation."...Much of the argumentation pertaining to space is applicable, mutatis mutandis, to time, so I will not rehearse the arguments. As space is the form of outer intuition, so time is the form of inner intuition.... Kant claimed that time is real, it is "the real form of inner intuition."" 
  6. ^ McCormick, Matt : California State University, Sacramento (2006). "Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Metaphysics : 4. Kant's Transcendental Idealism". The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/k/kantmeta.htm#H4. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "Time, Kant argues, is also necessary as a form or condition of our intuitions of objects. The idea of time itself cannot be gathered from experience because succession and simultaneity of objects, the phenomena that would indicate the passage of time, would be impossible to represent if we did not already possess the capacity to represent objects in time.... Another way to put the point is to say that the fact that the mind of the knower makes the a priori contribution does not mean that space and time or the categories are mere figments of the imagination. Kant is an empirical realist about the world we experience; we can know objects as they appear to us. He gives a robust defense of science and the study of the natural world from his argument about the mind's role in making nature. All discursive, rational beings must conceive of the physical world as spatially and temporally unified, he argues." 
  7. ^ Richards, E. G. (1998). Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History. Oxford University Press. pp. 3–5. 
  8. ^ Rudgley, Richard (1999). The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 86–105. 
  9. ^ Barnett, Jo Ellen Time's Pendulum: The Quest to Capture Time—from Sundials to Atomic Clocks Plenum, 1998 ISBN 0-306-45787-3 p.28
  10. ^ Barnett, ibid, p.37
  11. ^ Laurence Bergreen, Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, HarperCollins Publishers, 2003, hardcover 480 pages, ISBN 0-06-621173-5
  12. ^ North, J. (2004) God's Clockmaker: Richard of Wallingford and the Invention of Time. Oxbow Books. ISBN 1-85285-451-0
  13. ^ Watson, E (1979) "The St Albans Clock of Richard of Wallingford". Antiquarian Horology 372-384.
  14. ^ "New atomic clock can keep time for 200 million years: Super-precise instruments vital to deep space navigation". Vancouver Sun. 2008-02-16. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=e24ccfa7-44eb-40b7-8b67-daf8263569ff. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  15. ^ "Byrhtferth of Ramsey". (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9438957
  16. ^ "atom", Oxford English Dictionary, Draft Revision Sept. 2008 (contains relevant citations from Byrhtferth's Enchiridion)
  17. ^ "Shortest time interval measured". BBC News. 2004-02-25. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3486160.stm. 
  18. ^ "Fastest view of molecular motion". BBC News. 2006-03-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4766842.stm. 
  19. ^ "New Scientist article". http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7700. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  20. ^ a b c Organisation Intergouvernementale de la Convention du Métre (1998) (PDF). The International System of Units (SI), 7th Edition. http://www1.bipm.org/utils/en/pdf/si-brochure.pdf. Retrieved 2006-06-13. 
  21. ^ "Base unit definitions: Second". NIST. http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/second.html. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  22. ^ Dagobert Runes, Dictionary of Philosophy, p. 318
  23. ^ St. Augustine, Confessions, Book 11. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/augustine/Pusey/book11 (Accessed 26 May 2007).
  24. ^ Gottfried Martin, Kant's Metaphysics and Theory of Science
  25. ^ Kant, Immanuel (1787). The Critique of Pure Reason, 2nd edition. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/k/kant/immanuel/k16p/k16p15.html.  translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn, eBooks@Adelaide, 2004
  26. ^ Bergson, Henri (1907) Creative Evolution. trans. by Arthur Mitchell. Mineola: Dover, 1998.
  27. ^ Harry Foundalis. "You are about to disappear". http://www.foundalis.com/phi/WhyTimeFlows.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  28. ^ Huston, Tom. "Buddhism and the illusion of time". http://www.buddhasvillage.com/teachings/time.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  29. ^ "Time is an illusion?". http://physicsandphysicists.blogspot.com/2007/03/time-is-illusion.html. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  30. ^ Herman M. Schwartz, Introduction to Special Relativity, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1968, hardcover 442 pages, see ISBN 0882754785 (1977 edition), pp. 10-13
  31. ^ A. Einstein, H. A. Lorentz, H. Weyl, H. Minkowski, The Principle of Relativity, Dover Publications, Inc, 2000, softcover 216 pages, ISBN 0486600815, See pp. 37-65 for an English translation of Einstein's original 1905 paper.
  32. ^ Hawking, Stephen. "The Beginning of Time". University of Cambridge. http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/bot.html. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. This kind of beginning to the universe, and of time itself, is very different to the beginnings that had been considered earlier." 
  33. ^ Hawking, Stephen. "The Beginning of Time". University of Cambridge. http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/lectures/62. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago." 
  34. ^ Hawking, Stephen (2006-02-27). "Professor Stephen Hawking lectures on the origin of the universe". University of Oxford. http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/po/news/2005-06/feb/27.shtml. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "Suppose the beginning of the universe was like the South Pole of the earth, with degrees of latitude playing the role of time. The universe would start as a point at the South Pole. As one moves north, the circles of constant latitude, representing the size of the universe, would expand. To ask what happened before the beginning of the universe would become a meaningless question because there is nothing south of the South Pole.'" 
  35. ^ Ghandchi, Sam : Editor/Publisher (2004-01-16). "Space and New Thinking". http://www.ghandchi.com/312-SpaceEng.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "and as Stephen Hawking puts it, asking what was before Big Bang is like asking what is North of North Pole, a meaningless question." 
  36. ^ Adler, Mortimer J., Ph.D.. "Natural Theology, Chance, and God". http://radicalacademy.com/adlertheology1.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "Hawking could have avoided the error of supposing that time had a beginning with the Big Bang if he had distinguished time as it is measured by physicists from time that is not measurable by physicists.... an error shared by many other great physicists in the twentieth century, the error of saying that what cannot be measured by physicists does not exist in reality."  "The Great Ideas Today". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1992. 
  37. ^ Adler, Mortimer J., Ph.D.. "Natural Theology, Chance, and God". http://radicalacademy.com/adlertheology2.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-10. "Where Einstein had said that what is not measurable by physicists is of no interest to them, Hawking flatly asserts that what is not measurable by physicists does not exist — has no reality whatsoever.
    With respect to time, that amounts to the denial of psychological time which is not measurable by physicists, and also to everlasting time — time before the Big Bang — which physics cannot measure. Hawking does not know that both Aquinas and Kant had shown that we cannot rationally establish that time is either finite or infinite."
      "The Great Ideas Today". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1992. 
  38. ^ Hawking, Stephen; and Ellis, G. F. R. (1973). The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-09906-4. 
  39. ^ J. Hartle and S. W. Hawking (1983). "Wave function of the universe". Phys. Rev. D 28: 2960. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.28.2960. 
  40. ^ Langlois, David (2002). Brane cosmology: an introduction. arΧiv:hep-th/0209261. 
  41. ^ Linde, Andre (2002). Inflationary Theory versus Ekpyrotic/Cyclic Scenario. arΧiv:hep-th/0205259. 
  42. ^ "Recycled Universe: Theory Could Solve Cosmic Mystery". Space.com. 2006-05-08. http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060508_mm_cyclic_universe.html. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  43. ^ "What Happened Before the Big Bang?". http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/Bojowald6-2007.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  44. ^ A. Linde (1986). "Eternal chaotic inflation". Mod. Phys. Lett. A1: 81.  A. Linde (1986). "Eternally existing self-reproducing chaotic inflationary universe". Phys. Lett. B175: 395–400. 
  45. ^ Andersen, Holly; Rick Grush (pending) (PDF). A brief history of time-consciousness: historical precursors to James and Husserl. Journal of the History of Philosophy. http://mind.ucsd.edu/papers/bhtc/Andersen&Grush.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  46. ^ Wittmann, M.; Leland DS, Churan J, Paulus MP. (8 October 2007). "Impaired time perception and motor timing in stimulant-dependent subjects" (online abstract). Drug Alcohol Depend. 90 (2-3): 183–92. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.03.005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17434690. 
  47. ^ Cheng, Ruey-Kuang; Macdonald, Christopher J.; Meck, Warren H. (2006). "Differential effects of cocaine and ketamine on time estimation : Implications for neurobiological models of interval timing" (online abstract). Pharmacology, biochemistry and behavior 85 (1): 114–122. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2006.07.019. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18303059. 
  48. ^ Tinklenberg, Jared R.; Walton T. Roth1; Bert S. Kopell (January 1976). "Marijuana and ethanol: Differential effects on time perception, heart rate, and subjective response". Psychopharmacology 49 (3): 275–279. doi:10.1007/BF00426830. http://www.springerlink.com/content/q1227453r481x439/. 
  49. ^ Arzy, Shahar; Istvan Molnar-Szakacs; Olaf Blanke (2008-06-18). "Self in Time: Imagined Self-Location Influences Neural Activity Related to Mental Time Travel" (Abstract). The Journal of Neuroscience 28 (25): 6502–6507. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5712-07.2008. http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/28/25/6502. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  50. ^ Mackintosh, N. J.. Animal Learning and Cognition. ISBN 9780121619534. 
  51. ^ Wada Y, Masuda T, Noguchi K, 2005, "Temporal illusion called 'kappa effect' in event perception" Perception 34 ECVP Abstract Supplement
  52. ^ Robert, Adler. "Look how time flies...". http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16422180.900-look-how-time-flies. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  53. ^ Bowers, Kenneth (January 1979), "Hypnosis and the perception of time", International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis) 27 (1): 29–41, doi:10.1080/00207147908407540, http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a790232921~db=all 

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

How can I tell that the past isn't a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind? ~ Douglas Adams
Time goes, you say? Ah no, alas, time stays, we go. ~ Henry Austin Dobson
Lots of things take time, and time was Momo's only form of wealth. ~ Michael Ende
Time is money. ~ Benjamin Franklin
The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have. ~ Rollo May
Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn. ~ Delmore Schwartz
Time, time, time,
see what's become of me,
While I looked around,
For my possibilities;
I was so hard to please.
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.
~ Paul Simon
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven... ~ Solomon

Time is a concept referring to the perceived flow of actions and events from the past to future, or to its measurement. In Physics it is also referred to as "the fourth dimension" of a space-time continuum.


Arranged alphabetically by author
  • Time is not a reality [hupostasis], but a concept [noêma] or a measure [metron]…
  • Time is not bought ready-made at the watchmaker's.
  • With the magnificence of eternity before us, let time, with all its fluctuations, dwindle into its own littleness.
    • Thomas Chalmers, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 584.
  • In the spirit of faith let us begin each day, and we shall be sure to " redeem the time " which it brings to us, by changing it into something definite and eternal. There is a deep meaning in this phrase of the apostle, to redeem time. We redeem time, and do not merely use it. We transform it into eternity by living it aright.
    • James Freeman Clarke, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 583.
  • Time,— that black and narrow isthmus between two eternities.
    • Charles Caleb Colton, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 582.
  • The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
  • A butterfly
    Fluttering over the vendor’s
    Dry flowers of spring
    Only two days it flies
    Caught by the lost boy
    Yet still.
    • For Peng Fajardo by Shane Castro in The Now
  • Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future,
    And time future contained in time past.
    If all time is eternally present
    All time is unredeemable.
  • Lots of things take time, and time was Momo's only form of wealth.
  • All dwelling in one house are strange brothers three,
    as unlike as any three brothers could be,
    yet try as you may to tell brother from brother,
    you'll find that the trio resemble each other.
    The first isn't there, though he'll come beyond doubt.
    The second's departed, so he's not about.
    The third and the smallest is right on the spot,
    And manage without him the others could not.
    Yet the third factor with which to be reckoned
    Because the first brother turns into the second.
    You cannot stand back and observe number three,
    For one of the others is all you will see.
    So tell me, my child, are the three of them one?
    Or are there but two? Or could there be none?
    Just name them, and you will at once realize
    That each rules a kingdom of infinite size.
    They rule it together and are it as well.
    In that, they're alike, so where do they dwell?
  • The best general means to insure the profitable employment of our time, is to accustom ourselves to living in continual dependence upon the Spirit of God and His law, receiving, every instant, whatever He is pleased to bestow; consulting Him in every emergency requiring instant action, and having recourse to Him in our weaker moments when virtue seems to fail.
    • François Fénelon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 583.
  • Dost thou love life? then do not squander time; for that is the stuff life is made of.
    • Benjamin Franklin, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 582.
  • Time is a game played beautifully by children.
    • Heraclitus, as quoted in Fragments (2001) translated by Brooks Haxton
  • Observe a method in the distribution of your time. Every hour will then know its proper employment, and no time will be lost
    • Bishop George Horne, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 583.
  • The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To flutter — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing
  • The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly — and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
    • (1859 edition)
  • Time, the greatest enemy of man, is an addict who smokes the cigarette of life and uses God's soil as an ashtray.
  • How awful that silent, unceasing footfall of receding days is when once we begin to watch it! Inexorable, passionless— though hope and fear may pray, " Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon," — the tramp of the hours goes on. The poets paint them as a linked chorus of rosy forms, garlanded and clasping hands as they dance onwards. So they may be to some of us at some moments. So they may seem as they approach; but those who come hold the hands of those that go, and that troop have no rosy light upon their limbs, their garlands are faded, the sunshine falls not upon the gray and shrouded shapes, as they steal ghostlike through the gloom.
    • Alexander Maclaren, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 584.
  • The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have.
    • Rollo May, in Man’s Search for Himself (1953)
  • He who cannot find time to consult his Bible will one day find he has time to be sick; he who has no time to pray must find time to die; he who can find no time to reflect is most likely to find time to sin; he who cannot find time for repentance will find an eternity in which repentance will be of no avail; he who cannot find time to work for others may find an eternity in which to suffer for himself.
    • Hannah More, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 583.
  • Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived. After all Number One, we're only mortal.
    • Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Generations (1994), portrayed by [[w:Patrick Stewart|Patrick
  • Hours are golden links, God's token
    Reaching heaven; but one by one
    Take them, lest the chain be broken
    Ere the pilgrimage be done.
    • A. A. Proctor, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 583.Stewart]]
  • Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn.
  • I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
    For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
    My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
    Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
    Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
    Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
    Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
    Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
    Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
    Show minutes, times, and hours.
  • The flow of time is always cruel... its speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it... A thing that does not change with time is a memory of younger days...
  • Time, time, time, see what's become of me,
    While I looked around,
    For my possibilities;
    I was so hard to please.
    But look around, leaves are brown
    And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.
  • There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven — A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
  • This thing all things devours:
    Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
    Gnaws iron, bites steel,
    Grinds hard stones to meal;
    Slays king, ruins town,
    And beats high mountain down.
  • Time is a waste of money.
    • Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young (1894)
  • Make use of time, if thou valuest eternity. Yesterday cannot be recalled; to-morrow cannot be assured; to-day only is thine, which, if thou procrastinatest, thou losest, which loss is lost forever.
    • Jeremy Taylor, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 582.
  • When your legs get weaker time starts running faster.
    • Mikhail Turovsky (b. 1933), Russian-American artist and aphorist. Itch of Wisdom Cicuta Press (1986)
  • Time: a great engraver, or eraser.
    • Yahia Lababidi (b. 1973), Egyptian-Lebanese essayist and poet. Signposts to Elsewhere (2008)
  • Time wasted is existence, used is life.
    • Edward Young, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 582.


  • Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
    And racing around to come up behind you again
    The sun is the same in the relative way, but youre older
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

    Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way
    The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say

    Home, home again
    I like to be here when I can
    And when I come home cold and tired
    Its good to warm my bones beside the fire
    Far away across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spells.
  • I think the second you stop fighting it, time really is on your side.
  • What is time? If nobody asks me, I know; but if I were desirous to explain it to one that should ask me, plainly I know not.
  • We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
  • Time spent with cats is never wasted.
  • Time spent Wishing is Time Wasted
  • Janitor
  • What Difference does it make? Wheter Twenty Seconds or Twenty Years,it doesn't have the Faintest Echo or Slighest Whisper in the Thunderstorm of Time
  • The Outer Limits
  • Time wounds all heels.
    • Jane Ace
  • Everything passes, but nothing entirely goes away.
  • How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
  • Life holds one great but quite commonplace mystery. Though shared by each of us and known to all, seldom rates a second thought. That mystery, which most of us take for granted and never think twice about, is time.
  • Time is the accident of accidents.
  • It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.
  • Our true home is the present moment.'
    To live in the present moment is a miracle.
    The miracle is not to walk on water.
    The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment.
  • Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet others, go flowing on. Time is a child, moving counters in a game; the royal power is a child's.
  • Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.
  • You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.
  • The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time.
  • Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour.
  • Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
  • The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
  • Lost, yesterday, somewhere between Sunrise and Sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.
  • Tomorrow's life is too late. Live today.
  • Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
  • The future turns to present, and present turns to past. Thus it seems that time is ever-ending, yet never-ending...
  • I've been on a calendar but I have never been on time.
  • "I confes that I do not believe in time. I like to unfold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness - in an landscape selected at random - is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstacy, and behind the ecstacy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love."
    • Vladamir Nabokov in Speak, Memory
  • Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be eternity, eternity can be the tick of a clock.
  • By labor we can find food and water, but all of our labor will not find for us another hour.
  • Nature's Time is Cubic and perpetual. Linear Time is wrong and suicidal.
  • We are not capable of producing a concept of time that is at once cosmological, biological, historical and individual.
  • Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
  • This I offer to the secret of great Truth: Do not waste time!
  • " Alone I suffer, alone I wait. Waiting for time. Time the healer."
  • Veritum dies aperit.
    • Time discovers the truth.
    • Seneca in De Ira
  • The present never ages. Each moment is like a snowflake, unique, unspoiled, unrepeatable, and can be appreciated in its surprisingness.
  • Each moment is a place you've never been.
  • The present is not what is spoken about today, but what is reported tomorrow.
    • Leonid S. Sukhorukov
  • The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”
    • James Taylor (American Singer, Song Writer and Guitarist, b.1948)
  • The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.
  • Time and tide wait for no man. A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide.
    • Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)
  • “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    • Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)
  • They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
  • Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.
  • Time is precious because time is finite.
    • Swami Raj
  • Events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.
  • I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own.
  • Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once.
    Space is what prevents everything from happening to me.
  • All things in this world are impermanent. They have the nature to rise and pass away. To be in harmony with this truth brings true happiness.
    • Buddhist chant
  • The more time we lose, the more memories we make.
  • All things end in unending time.
    • Anonymous, Latin graffito scratched into a brothel's wall, Pompeii.
  • Living is entirely too time consuming to last.
  • Time. Time is an artificial construct. An idea based on the theory that events occur in a linear direction, at all times. Always forward, never back. Is the concept of time correct? Is time relevent?
    • Sheogorath, in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

External links

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Look up time in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.

Time may refer to:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TIME (0. Eng. lima, cf. Icel. timi, Swed. timme, hour, Dan. time; from the root also seen in "tide," properly the time of between the flow and ebb of the sea, cf. O. Eng. getidan, to happen, "even-tide," &c.; it is not directly related to Lat. tempus), the general term for the experience of duration or succession, either in whole or in part. For time in its psychological sense see Space And Time; for time in music, see Rhythm; for the methods of reckoning time see Calendar; DAY; Month; and the articles Time, Measurement Of, and Time Standard, below. Generally in English law, where any particular time is mentioned in acts of parliament or legal instruments, it is to be defined as meaning, in Great Britain, Greenwich mean time, and in Ireland, Dublin mean time. At common law, where parties enter into legal relations, and specify their intention of being bound by any particular arbitrary system, the courts will, as a rule, give effect to their intentions.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also time


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. A municipality in Rogaland, Norway

Simple English

We use time to sequence events, to compare their durations and the intervals between them, and to quantify the speed at which objects move and things change.

To measure time, we can use anything that repeats itself regularly. One example is the dawn of a new day (as Earth rotates on its axis). Two more are the phases of the moon (as it orbits the Earth), and the seasons of the year (as the Earth orbits the Sun). Even in ancient times, people developed calendars to keep track of the number of days in a year. They also developed sundials that used the moving shadows cast by the sun through the day to measure times smaller than a day. Today, highly accurate clocks can measure times less than a billionth of a second. The study of time measurement is horology.

The SI (Systeme Internationale) unit of time is one second, written as s.

In Einsteinian physics, time and space can be combined into a single concept. See space-time continuum.

Units of time

  • 1 millennium = 1000 years
  • 1 century = 100 years
  • 1 decade = 10 years
  • 1 lustrum = 5 years
  • 1 year = 12 months ≈ 365 days (366 days in leap years)
  • 1 month ≈ 28 to 31 days ≈ 4 weeks
  • 1 fortnight = 14 days = 2 weeks
  • 1 week = 7 days
  • 1 day = 24 hours
  • 1 hour = 60 minutes
  • 1 minute = 60 seconds
  • 1 second = SI base unit of time
  • 1 millisecond = 1/1,000 second
  • 1 microsecond = 1/1,000,000 second
  • 1 nanosecond = 1/1,000,000,000 second
  • 1 picosecond = 1/1,000,000,000,000 of a second
  • 1 femtosecond = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of a second
  • 1 attosecond = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000 of a second

Things to measure time

Time of day


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