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What’s the word for “to go back” of time? I’m trying to say that time cannot go back. For example:

I wish I were a child again, but time does not “go back”.

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closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, JSBձոգչ, Robusto, tchrist, RegDwigнt Dec 13 '12 at 10:53

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You can't turn back time. – Jim Dec 12 '12 at 2:55
@Jim Is there also a single word for this? – Theo Dec 12 '12 at 3:01
Time doesn't rewind. – Kris Dec 12 '12 at 3:51
We don't have a word for the reverse of "time's arrow" because outside of Feynmann diagrams there's nothing remotely approaching a real-world referent. Nor can we imagine what it would be "like" enough to give it a name. Time cannot be antitime. – FumbleFingers Dec 12 '12 at 4:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Things are ever changing and time never retreats.

I wish I was a child again, but sadly, time never retreats.

Time never retreats and is one of those rare concepts that is linked uniquely to Eternity. The Human Being is an equal and rare creation that shares a special connection with eternity and time. (Time Management)

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Here I would use the phrase "turn back the clock".


I wish I was a child again, but there is no way I can turn back the clock.

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As a side note, "e.g." means "for example". "For e.g." means "for for example", which does not make sense. – RegDwigнt Dec 13 '12 at 10:49
Thanks for the correction and piece of info @RegDwighт – KeyBrd Basher Dec 13 '12 at 11:36

The noun regress (“The act of passing back; passage back; return; retrogression” or “The power or liberty of passing back”) can be used in sentences like “We have no power to regress time” or “Time has no regress”.

Various metaphors for the passage of time imply time cannot be turned back, that it is a one-way street. The dozens of metaphors at grammar.about.com and xamuel.com include characterizations of time as:

• A river. “We navigate it in our boats, having some minor ability to resist the currents but ultimately bound ever forward by the waves.” (Also see below re Heraclitus.)
• An arrow. “The arrow metaphor emphasizes fate and momentum. ... the dart is already released; there’s no recalling it, or changing its path.”
• a Thief, a Trap, a Stream, a Prison, etc.
• a Circus. “Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.” (Ben Hecht)

Time as a flowing river is a well-worn metaphor. In about 500 BCE Heraclitus of Ephesus wrote:

ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμϐαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ.
Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν.

which in translation resemble

Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.
We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.

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Revert comes to mind, from Latin revertere, "turn back".

Time cannot be reverted.

But I'm not a native English speaker, so don't trust me.

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Revertere is Latin. French would be revertir. – RegDwigнt Dec 13 '12 at 10:51

Time does not run backward (or backwards). Perform the Google search [ time run backward ] to see that this phrase is commonly used in academic writing and mainstream publications such as Scientific American and Time Magazine.

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time run backward 60M; "time run backward" 150k; excluding "Does Time Run Backward in Other Universes?" 1,020. – Kris Dec 12 '12 at 5:07

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