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[doun-tahym] /ˈdaʊnˌtaɪm/
a time during a regular working period when an employee is not actively productive.
an interval during which a machine is not productive, as during repair, malfunction, maintenance.
Also called dead time.
Origin of downtime
1925-30; down1 + time Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for downtime
  • There is no downtime or vacation where e-mail is concerned.
  • And, by all means use the downtime from campus to get caught up on committee work, or even your writing.
  • Because manufacturing is more capital-intensive than the rest of the economy, downtime is more costly than in other industries.
  • In their downtime, much of the cast have become auteurs.
  • Their goal is to avoid the downtime inherent in motor-powered prosthetics that must be recharged.
  • Despite the downtime, the band has resisted the temptation to deliver a manifesto.
  • The enforced downtime allows you to savor the experience-and the culture of people who live there.
  • The resulting downtime gave the crew a chance to get caught up on some things.
  • That's what downtime was for: looking after any cuts and wounds and sunburn, and sleeping and packing calories.
  • The utility should be forced to pay the financial costs of unscheduled downtime to its customers.
British Dictionary definitions for downtime


(commerce) time during which a machine or plant is not working because it is incapable of production, as when under repair: the term is sometimes used to include all nonproductive time Compare idle time
(informal) time spent not working; spare time
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for downtime

1952, from down (adv.) + time (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for downtime


  1. Time during which a machine, factory, etc, is not operating (1950s+)
  2. Time away from work; leisure time: He spends most of his downtime with Toby, his wife/ He has more downtime than he did four years ago

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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