Idiom: Time Flies

An illustration of a cartoon clock with wings flying through the sky. The definition of time flies and a sentence example are provided.

Meaning:  Time flies

Look at the picture above and try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'time flies.'   

Time flies:  time goes by very quickly.


1.  Surprise:  This phrase can imply there has been a surprise—It's surprising the time went by so quickly and you didn't notice it.

Since this is something that is surprising, this phrase is often accompanied by "I can't believe," "it's hard to believe," "already," and "it seems like."

Again, because it's surprising it's also used as an exclamation:  "How time flies!" or "Doesn't time fly!"

2.  Having a good time:  This phrase can be used to describe ANY type of quick passage of time, however, it's frequently used with the phrase "time flies when you're having a fun."

That is, you're having such a good time you don't notice that it's passing so fast. But as you can see from the examples below, it can be used to describe any type of quick passage of time.

Sentence examples

— I can't believe my holiday is already over—Time sure does fly when you're having fun.  

— It's hard to believe we are graduating! It seems like yesterday that we were attending orientation. How time flies!

— Jake, put down your phone and do your homework. Time will flyby before you know it and it will be time to go to bed.

— Time flew during the test and I didn't have time to even start the second essay question.

— Exams sucked and seemed to last forever but time sure flies during Spring Break.

— It's already 5 o'clock? Wow, time flies. I've got to hurry and complete this report so I can catch my bus.

— The 14-hour flight from Washington to Hong Kong wasn't so bad. Time flies when you've got a hundred great movies to choose from.

— It's hard to believe our youngest daughter is going to school this fall—time flies

— You're 25 years old! It seems like yesterday you were learning to drive. My does time fly!

— There are still five weeks before Christmas but I know time flies so I should really start shopping for gifts this weekend.

— Whenever I go on holiday I notice how time flies when you're having fun.

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