Bout Time!: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
November 2, 2023

The phrase "bout time" is a colloquial shortening of "about time," and is often used to express the idea that something should have happened sooner. It indicates that an event or action is overdue or has been delayed for longer than what is considered reasonable or acceptable.

In short:

"Bout time" typically means that something has finally happened after a long wait.

What Does “Bout Time!” Mean?

The phrase "bout time" serves as a colloquial expression to state that something has finally occurred after a lengthy wait. People use it to indicate that an event or action they have been waiting for has at last occurred and often that it should have happened earlier. It acknowledges the end of a delay and finds use in both serious and lighthearted contexts.

  • Used to express relief that a delay is over.
  • Conveys impatience or annoyance with the wait.
  • Can be used in various contexts and situations.

Where Does “Bout Time!” Come From?

The phrase “bout time” is a colloquial contraction of “about time.” The term “bout” is a shortened form of “about,” which has been used in this way since the mid-13th century. The term “time” comes from the Old English word “tima,” meaning “limited space of time,” and has been used to refer to an indefinite continuous duration since the late 14th century. The phrase “about time” is often used to express that something has happened later than expected or should have happened earlier. Therefore, when someone says “bout time,” they are usually expressing relief or impatience that something has finally occurred.

Historical Example

But I've got to see lawyer Rogers 'afore night and its 'bout time I was gwine down town. You jest do what I tells you 'bout writing to Governor Vance, and axing him bout that letter he 'gin me to Gin'ral Lee, and told me not to let nobody laugh at.

- The Land We Love: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to Literature ..., Volume 3, 1867

10 Examples of “Bout Time!” in Sentences

Explore the versatility of "bout time!" through these examples:

  • After waiting for hours, when John finally arrived, Maria said, "bout time! I thought you'd never come."
  • "Bout time! they fixed the potholes on this road.
  • Seeing the rain after a long drought, the farmer exclaimed, "Bout time!"
  • "Bout time! you cleaned your room," said the mother to her son.
  • "I got the promotion at work." "bout time! You deserve it."
  • "Bout time! we had a vacation."
  • "They finally announced the exam results." "bout time!"
  • "Bout time! I've been waiting for this package for weeks."
  • "The movie is starting." "bout time! I thought we'd miss the beginning."
  • "Bout time! you admitted your mistake."

As seen above, the idiom can be used in various situations, emphasizing relief or impatience.

Examples of “Bout Time!” in Pop Culture

Over the years, "bout time" has made its mark in pop culture:

  • 'Bout Time is one of the songs for the musical film "The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band."
  • A song titled "'Bout Time" is performed by Louis Armstrong.
  • The New York Times reviews albums by Pistol Annies, Barbra Streisand, and Zee Avi, mentioning a song with the line, "Resentment builds in the song — 'I played the missus and I've done the dishes/'Bout time somebody got the hell out.'
  • "Every Year Just ‘Bout This Time, Kurtis Blow Celebrates With a Rhyme" is an article published in December 2019 in Smithsonian Magazine.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Bout Time!"

There are several ways to convey the sentiment of "bout time!":

  • Finally!
  • At last!
  • It was high time!

These synonyms can be used interchangeably based on the context.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Bout Time!”:

  • What does "bout time!" mean?

It's an informal way of saying "It's about time!" indicating that something has taken longer than expected but has finally occurred.

  • Where did the idiom originate?

The phrase is a shortened form of "It's about time." It has evolved over time and has been used in various forms in literature and daily conversations.

  • Is "bout time!" used in pop culture?

Yes, it has been referenced in songs, movies, and TV shows, showcasing its popularity and relevance.

  • Do people use "bout time!" in formal writing?

It's more suited for informal contexts. In formal writing, "It's about time" is preferable.

  • Is the phrase used globally?

While it's primarily an English idiom, its sentiment is understood in many cultures, even if the exact wording differs.

  • How can I use "bout time!" in a sentence?

It can be used as an exclamation, such as "Bout Time! you arrived."

  • Are there other idioms with similar meanings?

Yes, phrases like "Finally!" and "At last!" convey similar sentiments.

  • Why is "about" shortened in the idiom?

Language often evolves, and shorter forms emerge for convenience and ease of use in casual conversations.

  • Is "bout time!" a positive or negative expression?

It can be both. It might express relief or impatience, depending on the context.

  • Can the idiom be used sarcastically?

Indeed, like many idioms, it can be used sarcastically to emphasize a point or jest.

Final Thoughts About “Bout Time!”

The idiom "bout time!" is a valuable part of everyday language, allowing individuals to express relief or impatience regarding timing succinctly. It's a reflection of the evolving nature of language, showcasing how expressions adapt and morph to meet the needs of modern communication.

  • It's a colloquial and informal phrase, best used in casual conversations.
  • The phrase is a contraction of "It's about time," carrying the same meaning but in a more concise form.
  • Understanding and using "bout time!" can add a lively and relatable element to communication.

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