Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

me time also me-time

noun [uncountable]

a period when someone relaxes by doing something that they enjoy

'There's alone me time where I could go get a massage or a pedicure, or go for a drive. Then there's fun and frolic me time when I get together with special people and laugh, eat, drink, talk. Both do wonders for me.'

personal e-mail February 2003

women's organizations have been using the term with the aim of embracing the idea that self-preservation is not self-indulgent

Me time is a term which has been popularized by all forms of the media geared towards issues of female interest, in particular women's magazines. The idea is that, amidst the stress of 21st century life, a woman finds it increasingly difficult to spend time which is exclusively for her and is not encroached upon by the non-stop demands of work and family. Me time, then, is a period of time when a woman can put herself first and do something that she particularly enjoys to aid relaxation and revitalization. This might be as simple as having a bubble bath or sitting down with a cup of tea, or going on a trip to the gym or a weekend away. Though not used exclusively with reference to women, this term lies heavily in the female domain, mainly used by female writers for a female audience. Health education companies in the United States declared 28th March 2003 to be national Me Time Day, claiming the importance of focussing on the personal health and well-being of women everywhere. Women's organizations have been using the term with the aim of embracing the idea that self-preservation is not self-indulgent.

Background – me time

As demands on our time and the expectation of what we can achieve with it continue to grow, we have seen other expressions which compartmentalize the hours in our day. We're now familiar with the expression quality time, the time spent with family doing enjoyable things (a term also used with sarcastic overtones when the prospect of this is not particularly desirable!). A couple of other recent coinings are face time, which refers to time spent talking to someone in person, as opposed to using email or some other electronic device, and windshield time, used both in the UK and the US to refer to work-related time spent in the car.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 20th June 2003.

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog