Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
See Also: STALENESS
- As modern as tomorrow —Slogan, Royal Worcester Corset Co.
- As out of date as the black stockings and high shoes worn by inmates of asylums that used to take up city blocks and loom large in the countryside —Eileen Simpson, New York Times/Op-Ed, May 1, 1987
- As seasonable as snow in summer —John Ray’s Proverbs
- By the time they take place [dinner parties] the original impulse is lost … like sending a Christmas card into space and hoping an alien finds it on the right date —Maxine Chernoff
- Dated as a dodo, but who cares —Anon capsule review, television movie listings, New York Times, April, 1987
- Dead as a failed product launch —Anon
For other “Dead as” similes which apply to obsolescence,
See Also: DEATH
- Dead as an unsuccessful book —Henry James
- Dead as Greek —Karl Shapiro
- Dead as Sunday’s paper on Tuesday morning —Anon
Commonly used variations are “Dead as yesterday’s front page news” and “Dead as last week’s ticker tape.”
- Extinction, like a thing of beauty, is forever —Brad Leithauser, New York Times Book Review, June 7, 1987
Another simile that was extracted from an article and featured as an attention-getting blurb.
- Gone like the carriage-horse —Louis MacNeice
Poet MacNeice precedes the simile with this question: “What’s become of the squadron of butlers, valets, grooms and second housemaids?” Clearly, appropriate substitutions for the carriage-horse could give rise to as many similes beginning with “Gone like” as there are obsolete customs and objects. “Gone … like five-cent candy and the drainboard on the sink” from a novel by Babs H. Deal offers just one possibility.
- Good that comes too late is as good as nothing —Thomas Fuller
- It’s a little like being given the captaincy of the Titanic after it hit the ice floe —Senator Lawton Chiles of Florida, quoted in many newspapers on prospect of heading Senate budget committee, after November, 1986, Democratic victory
See Also: FUTILITY
- Like a punchline of a bad joke, the moment passed —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- (Conflicts as) new as each generation —Anon, jacket copy
Because similes are so often pulled out from book jacket copy, the more one can appropriately include, the better; and so, this and the “Old as literature” comparison below were both featured on one book jacket.
- New as tomorrow —Slogan, dictaphone company
- (Passions and conflicts as) old as literature —Anon book jacket copy
- No day is so dead as the day before yesterday —W. Somerset Maugham
- Obsolete as books in leather bindings —Louis MacNeice
- Outdated like a last year’s almanac —John Greenleaf Whittier
- Timing … as elegant as that of the Budapest String Quartet —Karl Shapiro
- (The reference library is quite) unfrequented … like the mausoleum of a once-proud family that has died out —Robert Barnard
(See also OPPORTUNENESS.)
at the eleventh hour At the last possible moment; very late. This expression is found in the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), in which the laborers who did not begin work until the eleventh hour of the day received the same wages as those who had worked all day.
An llth-hour attempt … to block State Bond Commission approval of $2.8 million for the two new buildings at Western Connecticut State College … failed Thursday. (The Hartford Courant, March, 1979)
high time Almost too late; the most fitting time. Since the 13th century, high has been used to mean ‘well advanced” or ‘fully come’ (OED). Some speculate that there is a connection between this meaning and the time during the day when the sun is highest in the sky. It is a peak time, like the highest point which is also a turning point on a curve.
It was … high time to make a contrary law. (William Lambarde, Eirena rcha, 1581)
This expression is almost always heard as part of an exhortation to act immediately.
in the nick of time At the proper or crucial moment; just in time. During the Middle Ages, it was common practice to record payments, debts, etc., by making a nick ‘a notch or cut’ in a stick in order to indicate credits or debits. Since a landowner risked substantial fines or seizure of his property if payments (such as taxes) were not made on time, it was in his best interest to arrive at the appointed place of collection before such penalties would be imposed. But human nature being what it is, a debtor often made payment at the last possible moment, giving rise to the now obsolete in the nick ‘the precise moment when something requires to be done.’ The addition of of time is a redundancy that has persisted for centuries.
If he had not gone at the very nick of time, the ship could not have failed of being very quickly blown up. (Archibald Lovell, Thevenot’s Travels Into the Levant, 1687)
under the wire Barely meeting time requirements; just at the deadline. The expression comes from horse racing, the wire being the tape stretching across the track. The nose of the winning horse strains forward “under the wire,” breaking it for victory as he crosses the finishing line. The expression’s figurative use most often refers to temporal rather than spatial proximity.
|Noun||1.||timeliness - being at the right time|
timing - the time when something happens
|2.||timeliness - timely convenience|
convenience - the quality of being useful and convenient; "they offered the convenience of an installment plan"