Two-time is a compound word that is an idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom two-time, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Two-time is a verb that means to cheat on one’s spouse or lover, to betray one’s spouse’s or one’s lover’s trust. The first known use of the term two-time is in a criminal case in the 1920s, where it meant a betrayal in a non-romantic manner. Soon after, the term two-time came to be used almost exclusively when discussing romantic entanglements. Presumably, the term two-time is a reference to having two lovers at once. Related words are two-times, two-timed, two-timing. One who two-times is a two-timer.


The storied Upper East Side institution already divided over a plan to partner with the Discovery Channel is now scandalized over allegations that its lothario president was two-timing a club member and the executive director, The Post has learned. (The New York Post)

 But being two-timed during coronavirus feels like a next-level offense. (The Washingtonian)

It’s the Married At First Sight 2020 final vows and as Michael Goonan and Stacey Hampton get ready to head up the aisle for the final time … here we all are pretending that we haven’t seen those paparazzi pictures of Stacey wrapped around her new tattooed, hunky boyfriend and heard all of the rumours about two-timer Michael Goonan hooking up with every Tom, Dick and Harry in sight – including old mate Hayley Vernon. (Marie Claire Magazine)

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