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Time is of the essence...

Posted by ESC on February 08, 2000

In Reply to: Meaning of phrase posted by Ed Vincent on February 07, 2000

: Does the phrase "Time is of the essence" have any legal meaning or bearing in England? If used in a letter, does it oblige the recipient to a specific date to respond?

I don't know about England. But here's what Mr. and Mrs. Morris say:
"TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE - In legal documents a date will be given, after which may be written: 'Time is of the essence.' This is a very old expression, credited by Barlett's 'Quotations' to Mr. Anon. It seems to mean simply that it is essential that the actions provided for in the legal document be completed by the date given." The "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977)