معنى كلمة island time

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معنى كلمة island time
معنى كلمة island time

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Though it’s only mentioned in Urban Dictionary, I know the meaning of “island time”, which is more or less where the locals aren’t too stressed about being on time.

But what’s the origin of the phrase? Which island or islands were originally referred to?

معنى كلمة island time

Island time is one of those delightful double entendres:

On the one hand it refers to pace, a certain slack attitude towards the clock. But it also refers to time well spent, away, in a place that refreshes the spirit and cleanses the soul.

If you have ever been to an island in the Caribbean you have slowly sauntered up to the more famous version of island time. That’s the one where the local population knows a clock exists, but their time zone is never in synch with yours.


It was probably originally associated with the Caribbean islands:

No doubt about it, “Caribbean time” or “island time,” can be frustrating. After rushing to put things in order at work, dashing around to shop and then pack, and hurrying to the airport, many visitors arrive in the Caribbean in warp drive.

Some quickly get upset when islanders don’t share the same sense of time pressure. Others become angry if locals don’t respond as promptly or as efficiently to every request as employees or service personnel do back home.


The earliest idiomatic use of “island time” that a Google Books search finds is from Dewey Ganzel, “Chronology in Robinson Crusoe,” in Philological Quarterly, volume 40 (1961) [combined snippets]:

Crusoe spent many days salvaging the ship and months securing his habitation on the island, and after he had “made … a table and a chair” (p. 76) on November 12 (p. 79), he began a journal (p. 76), making entries retroactively for the period September 30–November 12, briefly recounting his labors under datelines, and making almost daily entries thereafter (with a hiatus from January 3 to April 16) until July 4 {1660} (p. 106), when his entries became more infrequent, ceasing finally, when his ink began to fail, with an entry for the first anniversary of his arrival, September 30 {1660} (p. 114). Thereafter the chronology adopts “island time,” e. g., “in the third year of my being here” (p. 160), using day-month dates only rarely. Crusoe kept his calendar by means of notches on a crossed stick; this was his sole means of determining days of the month, and he discovered years after that he had lost a day or two in his account (pp. 104, 115).

This is clearly not the sense of “island time” as relaxed, unhurried, and (for some interested parties) catered that emerged somewhat later.

Fishing is both work and fun for author John Keats. He and his wife live on the top floor of the white boathouse (at left in photograph on opposite page), and Keats writes in his studio, surrounded by pines, on the other end of the island. The different beat of island time allows the writer quiet moments to read in his rocker on the boathouse porch (above).

This time, the island in question is one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River, the waterway that (along with Lake Ontario) serves as the border between New York and Ontario.

When we were meeting cross country, we’d fly in and have forty-eight hours with no other agenda except us. We called it “island time” because it felt like being off on an island together. … Now, in order to recreate that, we go away for at least one weekend out of a month. Or we create “island time” in our own home.

From “Planning for the Virgins” in Yachting (February 1983):

Whenever I’m asked what someone should pack for their week’s cruise in the V.I. I answer, “Not much.” It’s difficult to explain the lifestyle adopted once you get on “island time” and what few things you really need. Casual, casual, casual and light is the best way to go. Days are spent primarily in bathing suits and tee-shirts with the occasional addition of shorts and shoes for shoreside visits.

By 1985, Port Aransas, Texas, was using “Living [or Live] on Island Time” as a slogan in advertisements in the March 1985 and June 1985 issues of Texas Monthly magazine. Elvi Whitaker, The Mainland Haole: The White Experience in Hawaii (1986) offers multiple synonymous terms for the difference in pace of island life in Hawaii:

The relative slowness of Hawaiian time is captured in such mainland concepts as “island slows,” “Maui slows,” “pineapple time,” “island time,” “Mexican time,” or even “mañana.” The reference to Mexican time is probably to be expected as the actual experience of most migrants to Hawaii has usually not stretched beyond the boundaries of the continental United States. Here any difference in time code, particularly a slower pace, is labeled, somewhat pejoratively, in recognition of the southern neighbor.

It’s worth noting that “island time” lurks in a number of very old narratives, including The Odyssey, where time slows down—or speeds up, depending on how you look at it—at such stops as Calypso’s island, the island of the Lotus Eaters, and Circe’s island. Another interesting legendary island is discussed in H.P.A. Oskamp, The Voyage of Máel Dúin: A Study in Early Irish Voyage (1970):

Both the episode of the Queen and her Seventeen Daughters in M[áel] D[úin], and its parallel in Bran (the Island of the Women, 62-63) consist of three elements: the island is inhabited by women; on the island time does not pass as in the natural world; the leader of the women wields a clew which clings on the hand of the man who catches it.

So it seems that people have been aware of the intoxicating and time-retarding charms of islands for many centuries, though they may not have had recourse to the term “island time” as a way to characterize until the late twentieth century.

The contemporary idiom, ‘island time’, has its origins in a generalized sense of the word ‘time’.

time, n., int. and conj.A., n.
….IV. In generalized sense.35.c. Chiefly depreciative or humorous. With preceding modifying word relating to a group, country, etc.: the attitude to timekeeping associated with the specified type of people, usually implying a relaxed, haphazard, or unreliable approach to punctuality, keeping to a schedule, etc.

This definition is supported with exemplifying quotes citing Indian time (1936), Maori time (1945), Mexican time (1972), Gay people time (1992), and island time (2005) in the particular use.

This generalized sense of the word ‘time’ encourages even more specific applications, such as to individuals, as the 2005 quote exemplifying island time also shows:

M. H. Smith Delicious x. 118 Wilson was late, as usual… There was island time, usually a good fifteen to twenty minutes slow; and there was Wilson time. That was whenever he got around to it or felt like it.

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معنى كلمة island time

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The samoaobserver has recently published an article about sharing the idea of culture. The Museum of Samoa has started a project in which many Samoan visitors were asked about their definition of culture. The submitted replies that are captured in the ongoing “My Culture Project” could not be more different from each other.

What does the word “culture” really mean? Every person might define the term in a different way. In Oceania culture is mainly defined by what you see; the lifestyle that local people live. Some countries like Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are multi-cultural that consists of more than two major cultures. Other countries such as Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Marshall Islands are largely culturally homogenous with slight variations between islands.

The museum has collected lots of photos showing visitors of the museum and their perspective of culture. The museum collected so many photos that they decided to launch an exhibition. During the “My Culture Project” people visit the museum, and if they wish, will take a photo holding a piece of paper explaining what culture means to them. Most people write one word or a short phrase.

To take a look at some of the examples, visit the Museum of Samoa’s Website.

During this month (June) the museum plans to showcase approximately sixty different photos. That is sixty people with sixty  different definitions of culture. Lumepa Apelu, Museum Principal Officer, said, “This diversity is what makes the Museum’s exhibition special. It really features all the different kinds of people which visit the museum. That is why we decided to exhibit it. We have for instance taken photos of families, tourists, students and, of course, children.”

معنى كلمة island time

As for children, the museum’s administration believe that this project will be a great opportunity to encourage the museum’s youngest visitors to deal with their own heritage and culture. “We found out that a lot of children like the project.They all like to see the different ideas of culture. The kids do have some wild ideas and it is always fun for them to find out what everybody’s idea about culture is,” said Apelu.

A Samoan Kava Ceremony

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معنى كلمة island time
معنى كلمة island time

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