Definition of keep good (or bad) time in US English:

keep good (or bad) time


  • 1(of a clock or watch) record time accurately (or inaccurately).

    • ‘Those first clocks hardly kept time better than the sun dials and water clocks they replaced.’
    • ‘The bus driver, passengers, nor the bus, moved to see if they could help the bleeding man who had golden glossy eyes, wet dark hair, a thousand dollar beige suit, and a watch that still kept good time.’
    • ‘It was a just a simple watch of course, intended for the wrist of a young child, but it had a quartz crystal and it kept good time and that was what mattered most.’
    • ‘So it was a privilege for me to be get up close to see the ingenious workings of Harrison's magnificent clock, still keeping good time, nearly 300 years after it was made.’
    • ‘It was a matter of pride to possess a clock that kept good time and people went to great lengths to secure it.’
    • ‘As the metaphor implies, newer is not necessarily better, and the grandfather clock is still keeping good time.’
    • ‘Most atomic clocks are actually not used to keep time the way a clock on the wall keeps time. They're most useful in measuring the amount of time that has elapsed in a laboratory.’
    • ‘Here's the latest in integrated personal technology: A watch that keeps time and pays at the pump!’
    • ‘The owner found nothing wrong with his watch, for it still kept time correctly, so Quentin leaves.’
    • ‘At the top of the street is the old town hall clock, dating from 1891, which is well maintained and keeps good time.’
    • ‘The movement - the mechanism that keeps time - can include hundreds of parts.’
    • ‘Officials from the town hall were called in to investigate and promised that the clock would be keeping good time again as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Frustrated that it doesn't keep good time, Jerry throws a watch his parents gave him into a trash can on the street.’
    • ‘It certainly kept time well enough while we were testing it, and continues to do so.’
    • ‘Since the late fifteenth century, humans have been devising elegant and innovative technologies for measuring and mapping Earth, navigating, keeping time, and observing the heavens.’
  • 2(of a person) be habitually punctual (or not punctual).

    • ‘Shallow water is the best place to find and catch barble and they normally move into these areas at about 10am although they do not keep time well.’
    • ‘In law firms this is of particular importance as firms are looking for people who are able to keep time well as their whole income depends upon it.’