Definition of hour in English:



  • 1A period of time equal to a twenty-fourth part of a day and night and divided into 60 minutes.

    ‘an extra hour of daylight’
    ‘rates have ranged from $9 to $32 an hour’
    [as modifier, usually with preceding numeral] ‘a two-hour operation’
    • ‘Tomasson mentioned that Balanchine had created the work in an hour and twenty minutes, asking Tomasson to show it to him.’
    • ‘The thought of being entertained purely by tap for an hour and twenty minutes sounds mind-numbing and mundane.’
    • ‘Well the appointment was a big waste of an hour and twenty minutes.’
    • ‘After waiting for an hour and twenty minutes for our meals, we decided to do a runner and not pay for the drinks we had consumed in the meantime.’
    • ‘Seconds turned to minutes, and minutes turned into hours with equal grace and ease.’
    • ‘Seven members of the team stayed through the night - which included an extra hour thanks to daylight saving.’
    • ‘He followed that in Austria last year by knocking two hours 22 minutes off his previous time.’
    • ‘So, that's about an hour and twenty minutes from now, and we'll keep you posted on that one.’
    • ‘My parents strode in two hours later and within minutes we were screaming at each other.’
    • ‘Ivan tried to keep track of the hours, minutes and seconds, but she lost it somewhere.’
    • ‘Toghar Pairc is within 15 minutes of Bray and within an hour's drive of the city centre.’
    • ‘All of you will be putting in an extra two hours every day next week just for that little stunt.’
    • ‘The clock in her car, for example, remains about an hour and twenty minutes off, and remains a mystery to me.’
    • ‘Out of an hour and twenty minute class, I gave them the entire period to spend amongst each other.’
    • ‘For older pupils the aim is to increase time spent on PE from one hour and 20 minutes to two hours a week by 2007.’
    • ‘The Queen had a full schedule and was only able to stay an hour and twenty minutes.’
    • ‘The throw in time is 7.30 and if the sides are again deadlocked at the end of the hour thirty minutes extra time will be played.’
    • ‘It may be minutes, hours days or even years that you are helping yet the gratitude will be there.’
    • ‘This is called anaphylaxis and can happen within minutes to hours of exposure to the substance that the person is allergic to.’
    • ‘We had to split the journey up into little segments, so what should have taken an hour and twenty minutes must have taken best part of three hours.’
    1. 1.1A less definite period of time.
      ‘during the early hours of the morning’
      • ‘They sneak in in the midnight hours, but grey-headed women come to jeer them as they pass.’
      • ‘So, all my knowledge of art came from scavenged bits and pieces in the late hours of the morning.’
      • ‘For the first time, she was glad of the fact that Carden had them travel during the dark hours.’
      • ‘Two days later a relative left in the very early hours of the morning, to avoid the heat, with the coffin in the back of a buckie.’
      • ‘They came in handy for strollers to take a spot of rest during the morning and evening hours.’
      • ‘She sat silently through the hours as the sun traveled across the sky and she stayed even as it fell.’
      • ‘Very few manage to make time to go to a health club in the morning or evening hours, when it is usually open to all.’
      • ‘We used to be against each other for a lot of years in those early morning hours, remember?’
      • ‘One of the things I always get told off for is my habit of staying up till wee hours in the morning.’
      • ‘It's not out of the ordinary for vehicles to pull in at that time of the morning, late hours.’
      • ‘Non-news channels like the Food Network will simply play mellow music during the crucial morning hours.’
      • ‘Why not transform the empty night-time hours of the Yorkshire Museum into profitable activity?’
      • ‘Suddenly the silence of the morning hours was broken by a soft buzzing noise in the far distance.’
      • ‘Even those working in the early morning hours keep their heads swathed in cloth.’
      • ‘Embers began burning in the east, casting light upon the land in the early winter hours.’
      • ‘The other biggest concern was the overwhelming heat during the peak hours of the evening.’
      • ‘He tripped this morning and he fell in the early morning hours while he was getting dressed.’
      • ‘Youths are seen seriously doing workouts during early morning and late evening hours.’
      • ‘Let me zoom you into a couple problem areas that we have seen through the morning hours.’
      • ‘It is now a daily occurrence for staff to be asked to work back far into the night and early hours of the morning.’
    2. 1.2The distance traveled in one hour.
      ‘Ocean City is less than an hour away’
      • ‘Yep, that's a total of nearly £1000 for two people to travel the few hours to Birmingham.’
      • ‘Dad had been gone all day for some case that required him to travel three hours away.’
      • ‘We travelled one hour up the Pearl River by high-speed jet boats to the port of Zhongshan.’
      • ‘A few hours before midday and an hour out of the mountains, they came to a large field.’
      • ‘They'd traveled about an hour away from Kol when Beau materialized out of the tree.’
      • ‘They traveled a few hours down the road and found the horses that Arnon was talking about.’
      • ‘That meant she would have to be traveling many hours away from home just to go to college.’
      • ‘I would roll out of bed, into training, now I have to get up with more purpose and travel over an hour to work.’
  • 2A point in time.

    ‘I wondered if my last hour had come’
    • ‘The exact hour is hidden in God's design, yet we can be certain that he will come again as the King of Love.’
    • ‘The period was not the studio's finest hour and he did not fit in, spending more time hiding in a cupboard than at his desk drawing.’
    • ‘The baby chooses the hour and minute of birth, the parents the year and month, and the place.’
    • ‘Then, at the midnight hour of the request to extradite him, only THEN did they offer to hand him over to the Pakistan courts.’
    • ‘I cannot seem to achieve anything if I don't have a deadline with a date and a fixed hour, looming over my head.’
    • ‘Day and night make little difference and there are no closing hours or weekends.’
    • ‘The night went on without a hitch, but an hour had past, twelve midnight, the bewitching hour.’
    1. 2.1A time of day specified as an exact number of hours from midnight or midday.
      ‘the clock in the sitting room struck the hour’
      • ‘Throughout their stay at Kandahar the guards carried out head-counts every hour at night to keep the prisoners awake.’
      • ‘Come to me later in the evening in the seventh hour after midday, and I will give the prescription to you.’
      • ‘I left Dublin after the midnight hour and rolled west along the road, all too well aware that part of my link with the old city had come to an end.’
      • ‘Conor Galgey from Rossvale in Portlaoise was anxiety waiting for the midnight hour.’
      • ‘Listening to this radio show, though, you can't help but fall in love with music to listen to at the midnight hour.’
      • ‘His single cell was the last on the range of twenty-one cells and thus was reached some minutes after the hour.’
      • ‘At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.’
      • ‘He heard bells chime in the distance, singing the hour, but he saw them as bells of freedom.’
      • ‘Ask yourself, why did India awake to light and freedom at the stroke of the midnight hour…’
      • ‘A clock chimed the hour in the distance, and Gracelin suddenly felt very tired.’
      • ‘Hearing the clock upon an old building chime the hour of one in the morning, Alaina became more anxious.’
      early years, early life, young days, teens, teenage years, adolescence, young adulthood, boyhood, girlhood, childhood
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2[with preceding numeral]A time so specified on the 24-hour clock.
      ‘the first bomb fell at 0051 hours’
      • ‘The monthly charge covers scheduled servicing carried out between 08:00 to 18:00 hours Monday to Friday.’
      • ‘Visa applications can be submitted from Monday to Friday from 08:00 hours to 12:00 hours and from 13:00 to 16:00 hours.’
    3. 2.3The time as formerly reckoned from sunrise.
      ‘it was about the ninth hour’
      • ‘And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.’
      • ‘And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’
      • ‘Birds arrived between the end of the third hour after sunset and sunrise.’
      • ‘Unfortunately towards the end of the race during the ninth hour, we had to make a pit stop because we have a technical problem with the engine starter.’
  • 3A fixed period of time for an activity, such as work, use of a building, etc.

    ‘shortened working hours’
    ‘the dinner hour’
    • ‘I like to participate in company activities outside working hours, as it is a good way to get to know your colleagues better.’
    • ‘We have precious little time as it is, but I try to set aside hours to do just that.’
    • ‘The shopping will keep similar hours to the leisure and entertainment areas.’
    • ‘In my home city they are now considering longer licensing hours to entice the tourists to keep coming.’
    • ‘This course costs 50 with a morning or evening session to suit all working hours.’
    • ‘Mr Hilton wanted to retain the morning hours of the shop and decided to open Monday to Friday.’
    • ‘The purpose of this bill is to abolish shop trading hour restrictions on Easter Sunday.’
    • ‘The restrictions on drinking establishments and licensing hours date from this period.’
    • ‘Divorce or long working hours can cause emotional distance from your children.’
    • ‘The new recruits will also be expected to travel long distances and work anti-social hours.’
    • ‘A short game has been fine-tuned, while other long hours have been set aside for strength and fitness work in the gym.’
    • ‘He is more impressed with the proposal to do away with fixed pub hours, planned for both Scotland and England.’
    • ‘It also means that many cannot work long hours or travel long distances to find a job.’
    • ‘Nearly half cited the changes in working hours as the purpose of the deal.’
    • ‘Working hours can be purposefully staggered to meet the needs of the organisation and the individual.’
    • ‘She has since cut back on her hours and the distances she travels to spend more time with her family.’
    • ‘Both the boys followed them, saying it was too dangerous to walk around the school building after school hours.’
    • ‘I also think the relaxation of off license trading hours will help a lot.’
    • ‘It becomes a Herculean task for them to reach their respective shops during morning hours.’
    • ‘He said he believed a few may apply for longer hours ahead of the deadline in November and then only for one extra hour or two.’
  • 4(in the Western Church) a short service of psalms and prayers to be said at a particular time of day, especially in religious communities.

    • ‘The Liturgy of the Hours is centered on chanting or recitation of the Psalms, using fixed melodic formulas known as psalm tones.’
    • ‘The Hours correspond to the Old Testament services beginning each of the four "watches" of the day.’
  • 5Astronomy
    15° of longitude or right ascension (one twenty-fourth part of a circle)

    • ‘If the right ascension of objects transiting the meridian is 12 hours, then an object rising at the same time due east has a right ascension of 18 hours and an object setting due west has a right ascension of 6 hours.’
    • ‘Any object on the same hour circle will have the same right ascension, just as any place on earth on the same meridian of longitude has the same longitude.’


  • all hours

    • Any time, especially outside the time considered usual for something.

      ‘intruders had access at all hours’
      ‘teenagers expect to be allowed to stay out to all hours’
      • ‘If they didn't expect shops to open all hours then they wouldn't.’
      • ‘I've seen some of them wandering about at all hours of the night.’
      • ‘Those who have to suffer the consequences are wondering why local parents are letting their teenagers run amok at all hours of the night.’
      • ‘People gather at all hours of the day, some staring in awe, others simply curious.’
      • ‘So, naturally they may play football or volleyball outside your room at all hours of the day and night.’
      • ‘People living nearby fear for their own homes, after a number of fires at the site, and are worried children are often inside at all hours.’
      • ‘Applicant Ian Curwen is hoping to re-open the garage, offering petrol and garage-shop fare at all hours.’
      • ‘I wrote and arranged music, and produced hit records at all hours of the night and weekends.’
      • ‘She had a special key to the Sheen Gate, so she had access to White Lodge at all hours.’
      • ‘They forced the Government's hand over Sunday trading by illegally opening all hours, to the delight of shoppers.’
  • keep late hours

    • Get up and go to bed late.

      • ‘But to keep regular hours would be boring for me.’
      • ‘If the actual worked hours in column H is less than the Regular Hours value in H2, we want to use the actual number of worked hours.’
  • keep regular hours

    • Do the same thing at the same time every day.

      • ‘I keep late hours and wake early in the morning.’
      • ‘Dependent on the passing trade, Istanbul is open seven days a week and keeps late hours.’
      • ‘Mind you, I've not yet seen him - he seems to keep late hours, but has apparently been preparing for a conference in Cyprus that he is now away upon.’
      • ‘It appears that my unidentified contact keeps late hours.’
      • ‘You share order-in pizza or sandwiches from the all-night deli or you slip our for noodles at the Chinese place that keeps late hours.’
  • on the hour

    • At an exact hour, or on each hour, of the day or night.

      ‘news bulletins on the hour’
      • ‘I rang every hour, on the hour, until three in the morning, for several nights.’
      • ‘Same goes if you're doing it every hour on the hour.’
      • ‘A child's handful of balloons escapes, as they must do every hour on the hour, and floats away over the Magic Kingdom.’
      • ‘I can tell you that over the past five days we've done a count every hour on the hour, and it's well under 10 minutes.’
      • ‘It felt like a gradual poem coming across the TV screen in the same way a news story keeps adding one tiny little detail every hour on the hour.’
  • within the hour

    • After less than an hour.

      • ‘If the recovery time is not spontaneous within the hour, then recovery times can vary from weeks to several months, and permanent damage may have occurred.’
      • ‘Your order is processed within the hour when ordering during normal business hours.’
      • ‘They would have been back on the streets within the hour.’
      • ‘The prime minister will go to the White House within the hour.’
      • ‘We're going to have a vote within the hour on this apparently.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French ure, via Latin from Greek hōra season, hour.