from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • when.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • So after a bit of argy-bargy we persuaded the reception office at Satara to check what time you went out of the Numbi gate on Friday morning, and the gate keeper said that according to their records you hadn't gone out at all. '


  • At what time the seriatim opinions ceased in the supreme Court of the US.,


  • At what time of the year Harold Hardrada first planned his invasion of England is quite uncertain.

    William the Conqueror

  • I had no notion what time it was, somewhere in the small hours, probably, but I hadn't even had time to start doubting Joe's assurance that cabs were to be found in Washington suburbs at this o'clock when I heard the squeak of wheels ahead, and round the corner comes a one-horse buggy, its lamps shining dimly through the gloom.

    Flashman and the angel of the lord

  • He came as of old habit; he had come when the lightfoot herds ranged from here to the sweet, mist-watered canons of the Coast Range, and the bucks went up to the windy mesas what time the young ran with their mothers, nose to flank.

    The Last Antelope

  • The Second Church, which is the best in the city, will give father a unanimous call to be their minister, with the understanding that he will give them what time he can spare from the seminary.

    The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • However, Matty had passed the message on, for when one of the guards spoke, it was in that peculiarly accented English, not in what time would inform the prisoners was “flash lingo”—the speech of the London Newgate and all those who had dealings with that place.

    Morgan’s Run

  • He often asked Kaskia what time it was there, but she seemed to have no concept of measuring time that Martin could translate into his mind.

    Songs of Love & Death

  • And Baldus himself, as eminent as he turned out after, entered upon the law so late in life, that every body imagined he intended to be an advocate in the other world: no wonder, when Eudamidas, the son of Archidamas, heard Xenocrates at seventy-five disputing about wisdom, that he asked gravely, — If the old man be yet disputing and enquiring concerning wisdom, — what time will he have to make use of it?

    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

  • I trusted my intuition and my feelings—until I started seeing a headshrinker at age eight because my intense mental labors to save the world included forgetting what time it was and peeing my pants in school a lot.

    Roseanne Archy


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • In reply to ruzuzu: I think some folks have a tendency to duplicate a preposition for verbal padding: I took it off of the shelf; she took the washing in off of the line (an extreme example, but not impossible, which just means "she took in the washing").

    April 15, 2012

  • In reply to pterodactyl: "When" shall I pick you up is less specific than "(at) what time"; the answer "this afternoon" is more general than "at 3 pm" Therefore the wording of the question is determined by how specific I wish the answer to be.

    April 15, 2012

  • Is there a name for that at?

    April 14, 2012

  • I live among a lot of folks who use that "at" for location: "Where'd he pick you up at?" But "What time'd he pick you up at?" doesn't seem extraordinary, either.

    April 14, 2012

  • Is this a grammatical error?

    "What time should I pick you up?"

    Prescriptive grammarians would probably say yes, it is an error, because it's missing the word "at". It should be "What time should I pick you up at?" or "At what time should I pick you up?"

    If these grammarians are also copy editors, they might suggest the phrasing "When should I pick you up?", which avoids the "what time" construction entirely. After all, English already has a perfectly good word for asking questions about time ("when"), so, the editors might say, why not just use it?

    Actually, I think there's a jolly good reason to use "what time" instead of "when". I don't think they mean the same thing.

    My idea is that people use "what time" to refer to time on a clock, as opposed to time on a calendar. For example, if you ask someone "When did you arrive in London?", they might answer "Last Thursday", which isn't helpful if what you're really inquiring about is the arrival time of their train. So, instead, you can ask "What time did you arrive in London?", a question to which "Last Thursday" is not a sensible response.

    If I'm right about this, then "what time" is a two-word idiom that functions as one word, rather like "how much" or "how many" or the Spanish "por qué".

    Huh. So, if it is an idiom, does this explain the absence of "at"?

    April 14, 2012