To spend / waste time

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by ThomasK, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I am interested in the kind of metaphors you use with time, as in wasting (losing) and spending time.

    tijd verliezen (lose), verspillen (waste), verkwisten (waste)
    tijd besteden aan (spend on), doorbrengen in (to spend time at a place) [see also investeren/ invest...].

    So time seems like something concrete, which one can lose, etc.

    How about in your language?

    I know losing is very common:
    - perdre in French,
    - verlieren in German. But...
  2. ilocas2 Senior Member


    ztrácet čas (accusative case) - lose time
    plýtvat časem (instrumental case) - waste time

    trávit čas (accusative case) - digest time - but it means the same like spend time in English
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    This is quite interesting though: digestion seems to refer to (time as) food then? Spending seems to refer to expenses etymologically but I don't feel (lit.) that way, except when we add spending time on (is spending time an ellips ???). When thinking of our doorbrengen, (bring through), I thought for a second of passing (through ?) a forest, a place, like our door-, through, but I am not sure at all...

    (I cannot find right now what Lakoff/ Johnson in Metaphors We Live By write about time as a container metaphor; it sometimes is, for sure.)
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)

    perder o tempo (to lose/waste time)
    desperdiçar o tempo (to waste time)
    gastar o tempo (to spend time)
    passar o tempo (to pass/spend the time)
    matar o tempo (to kill time)
  5. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Oh yes, you're right: killing time is possible in Dutch too. But could you tell me what 'gastar' as such refers to? Is it something like 'invest' (time in...) ? (Thanks !)
  6. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    It really means "to spend". It's the same verb we use for money.
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see: we can't use the same verb, except if we use spenderen aan (spend on) in Dutch. But maybe it is the same us: everything depends on whether you add something to the gastar o tempo. I think you can use some kind of gerund as in I spent some time reading/ praying (orando), but how do you say: I spent so much time on works? I find: em obras pueris (on childish work/ children's work?)...
  8. phosphore Senior Member


    gubiti vreme (na nešto)=to lose time (literally on something), like gubiti novac=to lose money
    also traćiti vreme=to waste time, like traćiti novac=to waste money, but this verb is not used very often
    trošiti vreme (na nešto)=to spend time, like trošiti novac=to spend money
    ulagati vreme (u nešto)=to invest time (literally in something), like ulagati novac=to invest money
    ubijati vreme=to kill time
  9. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks! Is it correct that both presuppose a clear purpose: spend money/ time on something, as well ? (BTW: is the u- a prefix, like in- ?)
  10. Orlin Banned

    ^My feeling is that the 1st often (but not always) implies lack of purpose or uselessness (context helps to distinguish whether time is spend usefully of simply lost or wasted)while the 2nd always implies usefulness and purposefulness of spending (I'm not native though).
    u- is a prefix (very polysemic and equivalent to v- in other Slavic languages).
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    You might be right, that seems quite likely indeed. But then the u- is basically 'out-' or Lat. ex- ? Thanks !
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  12. Orlin Banned

    In Bulgarian we use similar models:
    1. губя време = to lose (sometimes waste or spend) time; пилея, прахосвам, троша време = to waste time;
    2. изразходвам време = to spend time (we use this verb for the use of all kinds of resources);
    3. влагам/инвестирам време = to invest time (complete analogy with other resources);
    4. убивам време = to kill time.
  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    We say, for example:

    Gastei o dinheiro todo em doces = I spent all my money on candy.
    Gastei/passei o tempo a ler = I spent my time reading.
    Gastei o tempo em tarefas miudinhas = I spent my time on minor chores.
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I see, that is what I meant. Thanks. (Can you also say 'lendo' instead of 'a ler' ?)
  15. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    You can, indeed. A ler is predominant in most of Portugal, but in Brazil I'm sure you'll only hear lendo instead.

    a ler: can be translated as "to read"
    lendo: reading
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  16. Orlin Banned

    ^In Bulgarian similar constructions are used: Yesterday I spent 2 hours reading is "Вчера прекарах 2 часа в четене/четейки" using the verbal noun четене or the verbal adverb четейки (which is probably the grammatical equivalent of the Portuguese lendo) respectively.
    I think that the same example in Serbian is "Juče sam proveo 2 sata čitajući" with the verbal adverb čitajući. For other alternatives or if I'm wrong, let natives say.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  17. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Yes, the gerund (e.g. lendo) in the Romance languages can be a verbal adverb, and the infinitive (e.g. ler) is a verbal noun.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  18. phosphore Senior Member

    Yes, gubiti implies always a complete lack of purpose, while ulagati implies that the time is hopefully well invested. Trošiti is somewhere in between, leaning towards gubiti.

    And yes, u- is basically in-.
  19. sakvaka

    sakvaka Senior Member

    Finnish (in the order of increasing "purposefulness"):

    aika (ajan, aikaa) = time

    tuhlata aikaa = to waste time
    hukata (heittää hukkaan...) aikaa = to lose time
    tappaa aikaa = to kill time
    kuluttaa aikaa = to consume time
    viettää aikaa = to spend time
    käyttää aikaa = to use time
  20. phosphore Senior Member

    Yes, there are also those two.

    upotrebiti vreme=to consume time
    koristiti vreme=to use time
  21. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I am a little surprised that we all seem to use the same idioms (killing, consuming, using, waste). By the way: can you also lose time ? (I think English speakers prefer 'waste time')
  22. Orlin Banned

    In Bulgarian използвам/употребявам време = to use time are also used.
  23. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    1/ «Αναλώνω χρόνο»: Ana'lono 'xrono-->to use up time. Byzantine verb «ἀναλώνω» (ana'lono) deriving from the classical one «ἀναλόω/ἀναλῶ» (ană'lŏō [uncontracted]/ană'lō [contracted])-->to use up, spend.
    2/ «Ξοδεύω χρόνο»: Kso'ðevo 'xrono-->to squander time. Hellenistic verb «ἐξοδεύω» (ĕksŏ'dĕūō)-->lit. to march out, depart metaph. to expend, squander.
    3/ «Τρώ(γ)ω χρόνο»: 'Tro(ɣ)o 'xrono (sometimes the gamma is omitted)-->to eat up time. Hellenistic verb «τρώγω» ('trōgō)-->(onomatopoetic verb) to gnaw, nibble, munch.
    4/ «Χάνω χρόνο»: 'Xano 'xrono-->to lose time. Hellenistic verb «χάω/χῶ» ('xaō [uncontracted]/'xō [contracted])-->to throw into chaos, into darkness, utterly destroy. Later, «χαώνω» (xa'ōnō), Byzantine and Modern Greek «χάνω»-->to lose.
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Congratulations, Apmoy: you are bringing in something up, suggesting eating up (nibbling at ?) time !!! And the way you lose time is almost mythological ! Oh, Greek is so interesting ! ;-)
  25. sean de lier

    sean de lier Member

    Manila, the Philippines
    Philippines (Tagalog, English)
    In Tagalog, we have equivalents too!

    "Time" is oras (from Sp. horas, "hours") or panahon (native Tagalog word). But when referring to time as in "spend time" or "waste time", current usage prefers oras rather than panahon. For me, I prefer oras because panahon also has another meaning, that is, "weather". Unlike many homographs in Tagalog, the two meanings of panahon have the same pronunciation. In the subsequent examples, one can interchange oras and panahon.

    "Spend Time"
    gumastos ng oras; gumugol ng oras: literally "spend (actor focus, infinitive aspect) time". This is the literal translation of the idiom; by itself it is neutral, can be used in positive and negative connotations. It carries an 'active' connotation, in which one spends time for an end. Example:
    He spent time in creating these works.
    Pinaggastusan niya ng oras ang kanyang mga likha.
    Spend (object focus, completed+benefactive aspect) + he* (non-focus) + non-focus marker + time + the + he (directional/possessive) + plural particle + work/creation.

    * Tagalog pronouns are gender-neutral, that is, they don't distinguish between a "he" and a "she".
    magpalipas (ng) oras: literally "pass by (actor focus, infinitive aspect) time". The root lipas has no precise equivalent in English, but it has a 'passive connotation' to it, in which one does something just for the sake of spending time. Usually this expression is used for doing trivial stuff to whittle away time, such as reading the newspaper while waiting for somebody.
    She spent her time watching TV.
    Siya ay nagpalipas ng oras sa panonood ng TV.
    She (focus) + sentence inversion marker + pass by (actor focus, completed aspect) + non-focus marker + time + directional/possessive marker/"in" + watching (noun form derived from the completed aspect form of the verb "watch") + non-focus marker/"of" + TV.

    "Waste Time"
    magsayang ng oras; mag-aksaya ng oras; maglustay ng oras: The first two are more used, the third is archaic/dialectal, if you say the third they'll say you speak "deep" (malalim) Tagalog. All have negative connotations.
    He wasted his time watching TV.
    Siya ay nagsayang ng oras sa panonood ng TV.
    She (focus) + sentence inversion marker + waste (actor focus, completed aspect) + non-focus marker + time + directional/possessive marker/"in" + watching (noun form derived from the completed aspect form of the verb "watch") + non-focus marker/"of" + TV.
    In addition, there are other words for "time", akin to the English "moment". Sandali and saglit both refer to a short amount of time, and the two can be used in the above idioms too.
  26. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog:To spend= 1.) Gamitin 2.) Gugulin To waste time= 1.) Sayangin 2.)palampasin
  27. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    In Japanese you don't use the usual things that other languages do :D

    To waste time

    時間を無駄にする /ʤi'kan o 'muda ni su'ɽu/

    You don't use a verb directly but an adjective/noun adverbialized and then transformed into a verb. Literally it says '' to make pointlessly the time''.

    Muda 無駄 is an adjective meaning futility or the noun uselessness/pointlessness. (The word itself is compound of nothing + poor)

    Ni に in this case transforms the adjective in adverb and then you add the verb to do する suru and becomes a complete verb.

    You cannot use the verb to lose in Japanese with time, besides there are a lot of verbs to say to lose depending on if you lose a duel/match, an object, a person, etc.

    To spend time 時間を過ごす jikan wo sugosu. lit: to pass time.

    Japanese is a bit special about this expression, you cannot use it to say anything you want about spending time.

    For instance, if you want to say '' to spend time in prison'' the sentence is 刑務所で服役する keimusho de fukueki suru. Lit: to penal servitude in prison. (yes, the noun is being used a verb). Another example, ''to spend time to get something'' is ~を手に入れるために時間をかける wo te ni ireru tameni jikan wo kakeru. Lit: to take/expend time to obtain. And so more situations exist.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  28. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member


    To waste time:時間を無駄にする(to make time pointless), 時間を無駄に過ごす(to pass time in idleness), 時間を浪費する(to waste time away), 時間を溝に捨てる(throw time away in a ditch)
    To spend time:時間を過ごす(to pass time), 時間を送る(to send time)
  29. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    The latter is something I do not understand. You cannot or you can?

    Now, is it possible to combine 810Sr's contribution into that - or the other way around?

    I'd like to ask
    - "pointless" : so something like "useless", I guess
    - "in a ditch" ; is that a literal translation?
    - "to pass" : like French passer le temps ?
    - "send": also literally (as in "I send someone a present/ a parcel"?)
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  30. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Zeit verlieren (to lose), verschwenden (to waste), vergeuden (to waste), verplempern (informal, to waste)
    Zeit verbringen (to spend), aufwenden (to spend, to invest), opfern (to sacrifice)

    - verschwenden is a causative form of verschwinden, 'to disappear' --> 'to make time disappear'
    - vergeuden < Middle High German giuden 'to idle'
    - aufwenden < Aufwand 'expense', 'expenditure'
  31. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    1) That's right. to make something pointless or useless(object can be even left out) is a common phrase in Japanese, as in これまでの努力を無駄にする(efforts so far is in vain, lit. to make efforts until this[=so far] pointless[=useless, futile])
    2) Literal translation as you think. What I meant is to throw it into a ditch, which implies that your efforts are totally useless.
    3) Same.
    4) Yes, it's perfectly identical to the basic definition of send that make it go off to the scheduled destination; as in to dispatch or to mail.
  32. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member


    He is wasting the time. = Pazarolja/pocsékolja az időt.
    When somebody is boring of waiting long time, she kills the time with some activity = Agyonüti ~.

Share This Page