Time Is Ripe

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Meaning of Idiom 'The Time is Ripe'

When we say the time is ripe for something we mean that the conditions are good and the right moment has been reached. The time is ripe means essentially the same things as the time is right.

Usage

"The time is ripe for gay marriage to be accepted across the world."

"The company felt that the time was ripe to go public."

Origin

The word ripe is often used to mean ready (for something). This meaning alludes to fruit being ready to eat when ripe. We might say, for example, that an employee is ripe for advancement to mean that he or she is qualified to move to a higher position. The idiom "the time is ripe" uses this meaning.

Shakespeare used the expression in Henry IV (c. 1597):

"I by letters shall direct your course when time is ripe."

Whether Shakespeare actually coined the idiom is difficult to determine. His use may simply show that the idiom was in use as early as the 1500's.

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