The word "runtime" appears in contexts related to computer programmes as a noun for the time when a programme or part of it is executed. So far, so good.

May I, however, use the word also in other contexts not related to computer programming? May I use it e.g. as a shorter way to say "the period of time when Project XYZ is being implemented", as in:

During project runtime, the steering committee will meet at least biweekly.

Project runtime is from May 2017 to June 2018.

Or am I restricted to expressions such as

The project will be implemented between May 2017 and June 2018.

During project implementation, the steering committee will meet regularly, at least biweekly.

Other suggestions to express stuff like that elegantly are welcome.

Regaring "runtime": I looked it up in various dictionaires and text corpora, but so far I found it used only in the programming context. My desire to use it elsewhere may be rooted in my German background, as German Laufzeit can well be used for projects, cultural programmes, and funding programmes, too.

  • 3
    You can use "runtime" in the context of anything that starts to run, runs and stops running - such as a computer program being executed or a film being screened. These terms are not applicable to a project (you cannot put your ear next to a project and say "I hear it running now"). May 17, 2017 at 18:56
  • Michael: thanks. However, I somehow have a problem understanding your logic. Okay, I cannot "hear" a project running, but likewise I cannot hear a computer programme running; and if we look at secondary indicators, yes, I can see e.g. characters dancing on the computer screen, but I also can see people rushing through the corridors working on my project; so again, using your logic I could use "runtime" for my project anyway. Likewise, a project can be started, be stopped and be restarted. Or is my thinking twisted? - Anyway, a clear "No, not suitable for projects" would suffice. May 17, 2017 at 19:19
  • @michael.hor257k You can if that's a project , that is ran by my company. I see your point there, but it can be metaphorical perhaps.
    – Swift
    May 17, 2017 at 19:20
  • @ChristianGeiselmann Are people rushing through the corridors constantly, day and night, for two months? May 17, 2017 at 19:25
  • You can probably even use it to refer to how long it takes someone to complete a marathon.
    – fixer1234
    May 17, 2017 at 20:05

1 Answer 1



  1. The time that a film or DVD lasts.

    ‘a thriller that is so well paced it seems a lot shorter than its three-hour runtime’


The length of time a program takes to run.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.