We can distil the variety of dictionary definitions of time down to two core meanings:-
- The use of time to refer to an abstract framework for referencing events and calibrating (measuring) periods (duration and intervals) seems well covered in the dictionaries (i.e the t in maths/physics).
- And time is a collective term – a mass noun – that also refers to events, but as an indefinite, non-specific set (as is the intrinsic quality of mass nouns, e.g. Traffic [another mass noun] is to Vehicles what Time is to Events – a non-specific collective term – this gets explained later: Traffic and Time).
That’s makes time a subtle, slippery thing – it has two root meanings that appear very similar, and are easily confused and interchanged.
However, the significance of this is that time is wholly explainable outside of itself – we can get our hands around it and it hence becomes redundant (other than as shorthand). It is hence not a fundamental phenomenon.
And Time (definition 1) measures Time (definition 2) which relieves that timeless conundrum – can time measure time!!