(In the) nick of time


      • just in time
        Describing an action or event that happened at the last possible moment before it was too late

    Examples of (In the) nick of time

    • The train was about to depart when Jane reached the platform. Just as she boarded, the doors slammed shut. She had made it in the nick of time.

      The phrase "in the nick of time" refers to a situation where something happens at exactly the right moment to avoid a negative outcome. Here, Jane reached the platform just as the train was about to depart, preventing her from missing the train.

    • John's heart stopped beating during the operation, but the surgeon was able to restart it at the very last moment. John had been saved in the nick of time.

      The example above illustrates how the phrase "in the nick of time" can be used in a critical situation, where a negative outcome would have been disastrous. In this case, John's heart stopping during the operation would have been fatal if it wasn't restarted in the nick of time.

    • The investor withdrew his funds just before the market crashed. He had made the right decision at just the right time.

      This example shows how "in the nick of time" can refer to a good outcome that has been averted. Here, the investor avoided losing money due to the market crash by withdrawing his funds in time.

    • As the deadline approached, the writer frantically typed away, determined to finish the project in time. She submitted the document minutes before the deadline, feeling relieved that she had completed it in the nick of time.

      In this example, "in the nick of time" is used to describe how the writer finished her project before the deadline expired. This idiom can be used to describe a situation where something is completed just in time to prevent a negative outcome, such as failing to meet a deadline.

    • The train was about to depart when Sarah realized she had forgotten her ticket. Just as she was about to return to the station to buy a new one, the conductor announced that the train would be delayed for 30 minutes. Sarah breathed a sigh of relief as she made her way back to her seat, knowing that she had made it (in the nick of time).

      The idiom "in the nick of time" means just as something bad is about to happen, something good happens to prevent it. In this example, Sarah almost missed her train due to forgetting her ticket, but the train's delay saved her from having to go back to the station.

    • The surgeon walked into the operating room just as the patient's heart stopped beating. With quick and skilled hands, he revived the patient (in the nick of time).

      In this example, the surgeon arrived exactly when needed to save the patient's life, which is the meaning of "in the nick of time."

    • The fire department arrived at the burning building just as the flames were reaching the top floor. The firefighters battled the blaze (in the nick of time) and were able to prevent it from spreading to any other buildings.

      This example demonstrates the use of "in the nick of time" in a situation where quick action is necessary to prevent a disaster.Overall, "in the nick of time" is a commonly used idiom in English that is used to describe situations where things happen at the exact moment required to prevent a negative outcome.


    The idiom "(in the) nick of time" is used to express the idea that something happened just in time to prevent a potential negative outcome. It can be used to describe a situation where a timely action prevented a disaster or a close call. The intention is to emphasize the narrow margin by which the action or event occurred, highlighting the relief or luck associated with it.

    This idiom is commonly used in everyday conversation to convey a sense of urgency and the importance of timing. It can be used in a variety of contexts, from describing a narrow escape from danger to simply expressing relief at arriving just in time for an event. Overall, it is a versatile phrase that captures the essence of narrowly avoiding a negative outcome.

    Origin of "(In the) nick of time"

    The origin of the idiom "(in the) nick of time" is believed to date back to the 16th century. The word "nick" in this context refers to a precise or critical moment. It is thought to have originated from the idea of making a notch or mark at the exact moment something needed to be timed, such as in the case of a close shave or narrowly avoiding disaster.

    The idiom has since evolved to become a common expression in the English language, used to convey the idea of something happening at the very last moment. It has been widely adopted in both formal and informal speech, and its origins can be traced back to the concept of precise timing and narrowly avoiding a negative outcome.