Wednesday, 3 March 2010

To call time

The other day I was teaching a class and while reading an article we came across the following phrase:

"To call time"

It was a phrase that no student had hear of before, so I felt it would be a good idea to explain it to you here in this blog.

The phrase "to call time" has its history in English and Irish bars/pub.
By law English and Irish bars/pubs must close by a certain time in the evening. When the closing time comes the bar person must shout "TIME" so that everyone in the bar knows it is time to close the bar.
The act of shouting "TIME" to tell everyone that it is now time to close the bar is know as, "to call time".

However the phrase, to call time, is now used in English to describe the moment when someone decides that something has come to an end.

For example:

"John Smith, the footballer, has called time on his career"

This means that John Smith has decided to finish playing football.


"Ladies and gentlemen, I must call time on this meeting"

This means that the speaker, perhaps the chairman of the meeting, has decided that it is time to finish the meeting.

To call time = to end or to finish.

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