Time Is Of The Essence


"Time is of the essence."


"It is important to hurry."


People usually use this expression to encourage others to hurry

when there is a time-sensitive issue of great importance.


Boss:        "We need to have the contract ready by 5:00 P.M.”

Worker: "It's almost ready."

Boss:        "Time is of the essence. This is our biggest client.”

Worker: "I know it's a priority. Don't worry."


1. Literature Reference: Author T.C. Boyle uses this expression in a 2017 short story for The Iowa Review, "The Designee," to have a character urge the protagonist to hurry: "'A few days?' Shovelin threw back at him in a tone of disbelief. 'Don’t you appreciate that time is of the essence here?'"

2. Media Reference #1: Journalist Michaela Vatcheva uses this expression in a June 29th, 2020 article for The New York Times, entitled "How the Pandemic Is Making It Tougher to Study Whales," to describe the challenges of studying whales: "But necropsies present a daunting logistical challenge. Time is of the essence, and the clock starts ticking as soon as a whale dies somewhere offshore." (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/us/coronavirus-sf-whales.html)  

3. Media Reference #2: Journalist Sarah McCammon uses this expression in a July 26th, 2020 NPR piece ("Time Is Of The Essence As Coronavirus Relief Is Set To Expire") to highlight the time sensitivity of a piece of legislation: "Meanwhile, the coronavirus relief package signed months ago is about to expire. Senate Republicans hope to have their proposal ready tomorrow, so they can start negotiating with House Democrats on a new relief bill. Time is of the essence. Millions of Americans are out of work, and infection numbers continue to grow, with the November election just 100 days away." (https://www.npr.org/2020/07/26/895480856/time-is-of-the-essence-as-coronavirus-relief-is-set-to-expire) (At 25 seconds into the broadcast.)  

4. Media Reference #3: Mark Proksch's character of "Daniel Wormald" uses this expression in season 2, episode 1 of the television series Better Call Saul ("Switch") to urge the police to find his robbed baseball cards: "I understand the first 48 hours are the most important in investigations like this, so the more time passes, I mean, the less likely we are of a recovery. So, time is of the essence here, guys."  (At 34 minutes and 57 seconds into the episode. Originally aired February 15th, 2016.)

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