What Does In a Timely Fashion Mean?

In a Timely Fashion Meaning

Definition: In a fast manner.

People usually say this when they want to tell someone to hurry up in a formal or polite way.

Origin of In a Timely Fashion

Timely has existed since the 1200s as a way to say early or at the right time. Fashion is synonymous with manner and in a timely manner is another common variation of this expression.

The exact origin of this expression is unclear, but it seems to have started in the mid-1900s and risen in popularity over time.

It is an appropriate expression to use in business, as it requests haste without being pushy or too direct.

Examples of In a Timely Fashion

in timely fashion In this conversation, two high-school students are walking to their math class, and they are a little bit late. A teacher in the hallway sees them and urges them to hurry up.

Lisa: We’d better hurry up. The bell will ring at any moment.

Annie: If we’re late, we’ll get detention.

Teacher: Girls, it’s almost time to start your next class. Please proceed to your classroom in a timely fashion.

Lisa: We know, Miss. We will.

timely fashion synonym In the dialogue below, two friends are on a bus ride that is many hours long. The bus driver stops driving and pulls into a fast food area to give everyone a bathroom break and a chance to eat.

Seth: I hope we stop soon! I really need to get off this bus and walk around.

Jimmy: It looks like we’re stopping now.

Bus driver: We’ll be taking a 15-minute break. Please use the restrooms and food facilities in a timely fashion so that we can leave on time.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about a judge who is still getting paid a high salary despite not working.

  • Then in May, the judge overseeing her probation ordered a random alcohol test after a high reading on the interlock device. Astacio wasn’t able to complete the test in a timely fashion because she was in Thailand. –New York Post

This excerpt is from an article about deaths that should have been preventable.

  • The National Cancer Institute has concluded that some of its lymphoma researchers failed to notify the Food and Drug Administration in a timely fashion about fungal infections that resulted in two deaths of patients in one of its research studies. –Wall Street Journal


The phrase in a timely fashion is synonymous with promptly.