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lose time

1.
Operate too slowly. For example, My watch loses time, or This clock loses five minutes a day. This usage is always applied to a timepiece. [ Mid-1800s ]
2.
Waste time, delay, as in We wanted to paint the entire porch today, but we lost time trying to find a color that matched the house. This expression is sometimes put negatively as lose no time, meaning “act immediately” or “not delay,” as in We must lose no time in getting him to the hospital. [ Late 1500s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for lose time
Historical Examples
  • Then, because they feared Sweyn's return, and so dared not to lose time, they knew not what to do.

  • It is too late to think of this now; let us not lose time in vain regrets.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • As he was unwilling to lose time by heaving-to to effect a landing, he stood on towards Tahiti.

    The Three Commanders W.H.G. Kingston
  • Not to lose time, our hero took the night train for the metropolis.

    From Farm to Fortune Horatio Alger Jr.
  • "We lose time," said Marston, seating himself by me, and cutting short what I was saying in an exceedingly brusque manner.

  • To lose time at the start is to find that a chance has been thrown away.

    Broken Bread Thomas Champness
  • We did not find a spring for some time, at least not by the wayside, and I was reluctant to lose time by wandering about.

    Round About the Carpathians Andrew F. Crosse
  • If this is not done we believe that we would only lose time.

    The Legacy of Ignorantism T.H. Pardo de Tavera
  • To alter the course would be to lose time, and allow the persistent pursuer to make up on her.

  • But Doubleday in especial was not a man to lose time over a failure.

    Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman

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