What does the idiom "for the time being" mean?

The phrase for the time being is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of for the time being.

Meaning of "for the time being"


The idiom 'for the time being' is used to express that something is true or remains the same in a temporary or transitional nature. It implies that the current state of affairs is likely to change in the near future, although as of the present, things remain as they are.


The phrase 'for the time being' first appeared in print in the early 16th century and is attributed to the Scottish poet William Dunbar who wrote the line 'For this time is withowtyn endyng' in his works. Its current form, however, came into popular usage in the early 19th century. Its use was popularized by the British author Lord Byron when he wrote 'for the time being, I'll trust in God.'


Today, the phrase 'for the time being' is widely used in both everyday speech and in formal contexts. It is often used to suggest that something that is currently true may change in the future, but as of the present remains constant. It is also commonly employed to indicate that something is a temporary solution or arrangement.

Example Sentences

  • Her job is secure for the time being, but she needs to figure out a more permanent solution soon.
  • The country is under martial law for the time being.
  • Let's leave things as they are for the time being.
  • For the time being, I'm going to focus on my studies.
  • We'll just have to make do with what we have for the time being.

The meanings of the words in the "for the time being" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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