Kill time

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I had asked about how you refer to spending and wasting time elsewhere in AL, but I'd like to focus on another aspect of time: killing time.

    Sometimes it seems like a burden, or an irritating animal perhaps, as we can say in Dutch:
    - de tijd doden: to kill time (which seemed common in some European languages, as appeared from some of the answers in the previous thread)
    - de tijd verdrijven: to drive it away
    - tijd doorbrengen: pass (the) time -but that is quite common, I believe - or to spend time

    So what other expressions do you have for that concept?
  2. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Hi Thomas!

    In French as well we "kill time":
    "tuer le temps"
    or "pass it":
    "passer le temps
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Mais donc pas chasser? (Ciao e grazie !) In fact, does tuer remind you of wild animals, or any other living thing ?
  4. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    «Σκοτώνω [1] τον χρόνο [2] μου»
    /sko'tono ton 'xrono mu/
    lit. "to kill/killing the time of mine"

    [1]Byzantine and Modern Greek verb «σκοτώνω» (sko'tono)--> to kill, deriving from the Classical verb «σκοτόω/σκοτῶ» (skŏ'tŏō [uncontracted]/skŏ'tō [contracted])--> lit. to darken, blind, make dark, metaph. to kill. PIE base *skot-, dark, shade.
    [2]Masculine noun «χρόνος» ('xronos)--> time, year, deriving from the Classical masculine noun «χρόνος» ('xrŏnŏs)--> time, year, with obscure etymology (a couple of suggestions for it: 1/ From the PIE base *dher-, hold; 2/ from the PIE base *gre-/*ger-, to age, ripen)
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I wonder how we get to this killing. Can anyone tell me/us what the underlying vision of time here is ?
  6. Tamar

    Tamar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    In Hebrew, like in French:

    להרוג זמן laharog zman = to kill time

    And also simply: להעביר את הזמן le-ha'avir et ha-zman = to pass the time

    To waste time would be לבזבז זמן le-vazbez zman
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    So the killing turns up again and again. Could the 'beasty' character of time refer to Chronos devouring people (as opposed to Kairos), Apmoy? I suddenly think I have read about people being 'devoured' by time, but... I am not so sure...
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  8. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    You've read Aristotle, haven't you? ;)
    Aristotle (I think in his "Constitution of the Bottiaeans") suggests that Kronos=Chronos (Chronos devours people just like Kronos devoured his sons and daughters).
    But I think Aristotle (and Plato, and Plutarch and many ancient Greek philosophers) are prone to paretymological approach.
  9. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I had not, believe it or not, I just thought of a parellel as the metaphor seems to imply some resemblance between time and with a wild animal (or god ?). But I am not so sure I understand you well: "Kronos" (time) is not to be equated to "Chronos" (the god)? Sorry, if I am mistaken.

    But paretymology is so... very human, isn't it? I think even our metaphors (and language for that) are somehow so very human: we think of abstract things starting from concrete things, as Lakoff pointed out, and thus reduce complexity by referring to our physical perception, which to me seems the only analogy we could use. I mainly wondered about why we use something like 'time', and always worry about paretymology or folk etymology! ;-)
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  10. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Same in Portuguese: matar o tempo, passar o tempo.
  11. kloie Senior Member

    in estonian=aega surnuks lööma
    in german= die Zeit totschlagen
    in croatian=utucati vrijeme
    in persian=vaght gozarandan
  12. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Thank you, kloie :) But what are the literal translations? :) Do they all use the expression "to kill time"?
  13. kloie Senior Member

    die zeit=time
    totschlagen=to beat to death
    surnuks=to the death
    lööma=to beat
    gozarandan=to pass
    utucati=It's derived from tući, so it's sort of like 'beating time to death'.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  14. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member


    In Turkish also, we "kill time".

    Zaman öldürmek.
  15. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    So time like an animal and time like a tunnel, somehow?
  16. snoopymanatee

    snoopymanatee Senior Member

    Like an animal or something alive.

    Dün iyi zaman öldürdük. --> We killed too much time yesterday.

    Dün kazara bir köpek öldürdük. --> We killed a dog accidentally yesterday.
  17. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    In Spanish it also uses ''kill', matar (el) tiempo.

    In Japanese you say 時間をつぶす jikan wo tsubusu /ʤikan o tsu'busu/ = to crush/to smash/to block/to shut down time.
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Just one extra question: when you use those verbs, what kind of 'thing' must time be ? Some kind of a building?
  19. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Time (jikan) is a noun, wo marks the accusative case. You can smash (つぶす) pretty much everything, things, people and time, a noun. But I don't know the historical reason why tsubusu is used for time and not 殺す korosu (to kill). nevertheless, some people indeed say jikan wo korosu in Japanese.
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    But then blocking and shutting do seem to refer to houses as well, don't they ?
  21. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Of course :) what happens is, that in Japanese there are verbs that can even have 13 different meanings. Tsubusu will change its meaning depending on context.

    For instance:

    事件は彼女の面目をつぶした. jiken wa kanojo no menboku wo tsubushita. The scandal brought her to shame. lit: as regard to the scandal/event her reputation was crushed.

    Tsubusu can also mean ''to put paid to'' when it comes to plans and wishes. And also ''to wash out'' talking about rain and storms.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see... I did not realize those verbs could have that broad meanings. Thanks !
  23. terredepomme Senior Member

    Human Language
    What's important to ask here is if these expressions were simultaneously developped in different languages or originally an expression of a particular language(French or English) that spread to others.
    For example the Japanese word 時間 is a modern word so it couldn't predate the European equivalents of this expression.
    Although there is the expression 暇つぶし where 暇 is like "spare time."
    Also in Korean we say 시간때우기 or literally "filling up, making up for" time but we also use the English word 타임킬링(time killing).
    So it's highly likely that for non-European languages like Hebrew or Turkish to have adopted the expression from French or English.
    My theory is that most of these expressions are directly from the French one which we see from 1504( ) or from the English one which is attested in 1728 ( ), probably from French.
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Interesting theory, and not implausible. It might be true indeed that even metaphors, or well, expressions, are copied.

    In fact all the questions I am asking very often have to do with metaphors, and seeing whether they are different - supposing they might betray aspects of a different worldview.
  25. Selyd Senior Member

    In Ukrainian:
    губити, загубити, згубити час /huby'ty, zahuby'ty, zhuby'ty chas/ it is vain to expend
    струювати час /stru'yuvaty chas/ approximately to destroy
  26. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I apologise for not responding earlier, I honestly, did not see your reply!
    «Κρόνος» ('kronos) is the god, or rather, the father of the ancient Greek gods who devoured his children (in Latin, Cronus).
    «Χρόνος» ('xronos or chronus) is time, who-according to Aristotle-like «Κρόνος» devours people.
  27. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    No problem, Apmoy. So there is no link between the two, they are quite different, aren't they? I simply thought the god symbolised time, the way Apollo can be said to stand for reason.
  28. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Czech zabít čas (killing time)
  29. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I now realize we also fill time, as in Korean, though not that stylish. So time can also be like an empty hole, or something, that one can fall into... (And if you fill time, you can't fall into it...)
    Another is besteden, which is like spending (on):it is like money! ;-) (Hoe besteed je je (vrije) tijd? - How do you spend your (free) time)? BUT implying as well: what do you spend it on? )
  30. ilocas2 Senior Member


    zabít (perf.) / zabíjet (imperf.) čas - to kill time
  31. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    In addition to it, we'd say 暇をつぶす hima wo tsubusu meaning to crush free time(hima refers to a time when you can spend out as you want it to do)
  32. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    in what contexts do you normally use this verb? With what kind of objects/food? What does time look like based on this verb?
  33. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    In Chinese (simplified):

    消磨时间 (written style) - to wear down or fritter away time

    打发时间 (written or colloquial) - to send away or dismiss time

    耗时间 (colloquial) - to consume or waste time
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  34. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    To send away time is new to me. Time like a burden ?

    [I am off for a couple of days. Will only be in touch after Monday]
  35. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Sure, like you said at the beginning.
    If we can so cruelly kill it, why not just send it off, being nicer to the time and yourself?;)
  36. Messquito

    Messquito Senior Member

    台灣台北 Taipei, Taiwan
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    I don't know about China, but in Taiwan, besides 消磨时间 and 打发时间, the direct translation 殺時間 is also widely used here, which is highly likely a loanword from English.
    Also, 耗時間 sounds somewhat negative to me, which I wouldn't consider "killing time" because it gives a sense of "wasting time", or, as some may say, "dawdling" or "lingering". It is often used as verb meaning "wasting time doing something as long as possible" or "delaying (as a tactic)" or as an adjective meaning "time-consuming". There might be some regional difference, though.
  37. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia
    Catalan and Spanish just as French ('to kill' and 'to pass'):

    matar el temps
    passar el temps

    matar el tiempo
    pasar el tiempo
  38. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    The etymology of «Κρόνος» Krónŏs (the mythical father of the ancient Greek Olympian gods) is obscure (it's possibly linked to the ancient Greek v. «κραιαίνω» kraiaínō, later form «κραίνω» kraínō --> to rule, complete, (intr.) to end < PIE *ḱrh₂-s-n- head cf Gr. «κάρᾱ» (kárā), head; Skt. शिरस् (śiras), top, peak; Proto-Germanic *hirsniją > Ger. Hirn). Its earlier form was perhaps *Κρόσνος < *kr̥sneh₂-
    «Χρόνος» kʰrónŏs (masc.) on the other hand has a possible PIE root *ǵʰer- to enclose > *gʰr-ono- (cf Skt. हरति (hárati), to carry, offer; Av. gərədha; Lat. hortus; Proto-Germanic *gardô > Dt. gaarde, Eng. garden). On the semantic side, an original meaning "encompassing time-limit" has been assumed for «χρόνος» or even "seizer" (Beekes pg. 1652).
  39. Holger2014 Senior Member

    In addition to that, you can say (sich)* die Zeit vertreiben or die Zeit verbringen - as in Dutch:
    * sich = reflexive pronoun, difficult to define its function here. I guess it takes the attention away from the 'object', in a way - it doesn't really matter what it is you 'drive away' the time with... By contrast, the expression die Zeit verbringen ('to spend time') - never used with a reflexive pronoun - seems to focus more on the activity itself.
  40. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I believe the 'sich' here would be called something like an involved object, but I am not really sure. It would be impossible in Dutch though.

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