to mark time

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - mark time

"to mark time"

to wait and do the minimum required or nothing at all


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - mark time

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: The manager is retiring in three months. What is he going to do in the meantime?

Colleague 2: I imagine that he will just mark time until he retires.

Colleague 1: So, basically, he won't do anything?

Colleague 2: He will do whatever is required for the position but I doubt we will see any big initiatives or changes.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - mark time

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: I thought you wanted to get this deck built this weekend? Why are you not working on it?

Friend 2: I am just marking time until the next batch of lumber is delivered.

Friend 1: Is there nothing you can do in preparation for the delivery?

Friend 2: No. I just need more lumber.

Test Your Understanding  

to mark time - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   302   click for frequency by country

to mark time - Gerund Form:

Marking time is not the way to advance your career.

to mark time - Examples:

1)  ... in alternative minimum corporate taxes on the subsidiaries. In fact, the IRS is marking time and can still lodge the original claims.

2)  Zarda and his gestures of protest over the film have no credibility: He is marking time before he is ousted.

3)  ... of minor administrative duties in Jesuit houses of Normandy. Actually, he was only marking time. Canada would soon beckon once again!

4)  But it was just marking time, really, until I got my act together and got focused enough to ...

5)  ... and he rapidly slid out of the international reckoning. After marking time with Northants for a while, he decided to seek fame and fortune elsewhere.

6)  ... gone to university, but chose to work in a bank. I was marking time until I met the right man.

7)  Ade was a one-season wonder, or has lost his appetite and is now merely marking time until a big money move to the continent ...

8)  ... markets get restless, all across Europe the job market has been marking time waiting for decisions on Greece and people go hungry.

9)  They saw that our society was marking time, that it was running the risk of falling hopelessly behind the technologically advanced ...

10)  Perhaps he was marking time, waiting until he had resolved INM's difficulties before turning his attention to ...

11)  Zaheer meanwhile is just marking time until the spinners can get at the new ball. 

12)  It is more likely that he had just been marking time until the inevitability of his arrest.

13)  However, I wouldn't write off just working to pay the bills, or marking time until the next big thing comes along. I spent a year making sandwiches ...

14)  I suppose I'm really just marking time, while waiting for Casino Royale to open.

15)  It is quite obvious that this policy of marking time, which Russia is adopting for the moment, can only be transitory.

16)  ... sometimes it just meant marking time, putting critical thinking in the freezer. 

17)  ... moments that he realizes too late were squandered in the pursuit of his passion for marking time

18)  ... who leads a boring, conventional life without close friendships or challenges or achievements, marking time to his grave, has not had a good life, even if he ...

19)  And the Prez appeared to be hanging around just marking time until his anniversary dinner reservations were ready........ ho hum.

20)  Not exactly a canny career move for an aspiring journalist marking time between college and grad school, I grant you.