Definition of be (living) on borrowed time in English:

be (living) on borrowed time


  • Used to convey that someone has survived against expectations, with the implication that they will not do so for much longer.

    ‘the government is living on borrowed time’
    • ‘Smokers could be on borrowed time in Greater Manchester with apparently overwhelming support for a smoke-free city.’
    • ‘The Fermanagh debacle in 2003 and the All-Ireland defeat last year left the Crossmolina man on borrowed time, and after the defeats to Galway and Kerry this time out, there was to be no reprieve.’
    • ‘Traditional supply chains are operating on borrowed time.’
    • ‘Within a few weeks I will reach 70 years, so henceforth, Biblically speaking, I will be on borrowed time or, in modern parlance, I am nearing my best before sell by date!’
    • ‘It all comes out of that urgency, that feeling of being on borrowed time.’
    • ‘It was supposed to be Tuesday, so I'm mailing on borrowed time.’
    • ‘The Child Support Agency is operating on borrowed time and should be scrapped unless its performance improves within weeks, MPs said yesterday.’
    • ‘This trip to Scotland could represent Leinster's last chance of making the last eight of the Celtic League and he knows the champions live on borrowed time.’
    • ‘Others have been warned they are on borrowed time and will be tested again in the coming months.’
    • ‘Bradford City's Premiership dream continues to look on borrowed time, and Newcastle showed no mercy at St James' Park where Gary Speed struck in the sixth minute and England captain Alan Shearer added Newcastle's second without reply.’
    • ‘In 1989 the councillors of this post-war town voted to begin the removal of every single traffic light; there are three left, but they are on borrowed time.’
    • ‘We live on borrowed time, never quite knowing where we'll be six months from now.’
    • ‘But too much competition means some of the players are playing on borrowed time.’
    • ‘We're on borrowed time, there's no doubt about that.’
    • ‘The eighteenth century still lived on this inheritance—but we might say that it lived on borrowed time.’
    • ‘I used to somehow feel that I was just living the blissful life on borrowed time, and sooner or later I'd succumb to that same creeping feeling of not belonging, ultimately.’
    • ‘But all that borrowed money might be living on borrowed time.’
    • ‘Probably the best-known U.S. Military hospital is very much on borrowed time with the anonymous vote by BRAC to close the doors.’
    • ‘We all live on borrowed time from the moment we are born.’
    • ‘According to City sources, Russell had been on borrowed time since last summer.’