My question is quite broad, thus I wasn't able to close it under a single title, so forgive me.


I can work between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on on Tuesdays and Thursdays and between 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays.

During that time I can have many appointments.


  1. How do you call an individual time period during which I work?
  2. How do you call a group of all of those periods?
  3. How do you call a time at which a single appointment starts?
  4. How do you call the whole thing that would describe the time I usually work at and my appointments?

My suggestions are:

  1. Working hours
  2. Availability (but if I choose this word, how would I call my true availability, so working hours minus appointments?)
  3. In polish we have a word for it, but it seems that in english you use appointment to describe both the date as well as the whole thing.
  4. Schedule
  • We normally discourage multiple-facet questions, but I reckon your question just squeaks under the "too broad" line. – Andrew Leach May 18 at 9:50
  • I don’t understand your having appointments during hours you claim to be available to work. – Xanne May 19 at 7:54

The "individual time period during which I work" has a specific name in English: shift. Cambridge mentions it as describing the time worked:

a group of workers who do a job for a period of time during the day or night, or the period of time itself

I worked the last hour of my shift on autopilot.
His shift starts at seven o'clock.
She's just finished a 13-hour shift at the hospital.
Studies revealed that doctors were routinely working 15-hours shifts.
As her shift finishes, mine begins.

The resourcing software I used to work on called the recurring group of shifts over a week the shift pattern. Wikipedia calls it a shift plan, rota or roster, although Google finds images for shift pattern. Different members of staff can work different shift patterns; and your shift pattern might change from week to week. It's simply the pattern of shifts that you work. This means that availability is fine for the time during which you are actually available.

The time at which a single appointment starts doesn't have a word in English. The appointment is the meeting which takes place, "I have an appointment at 10:15". So we would say "The appointment starts at 10:15." If you wanted to call it something, appointment time or appointment start time would be entirely understood.

The word schedule for the whole thing is a good word, although my subjective impression is that it's only recently come into widespread use (perhaps with computer diary/calendar software). "Let me see if I can fit your appointment into my schedule".

  • 'Shift' virtually demands an externally imposed (by the company etc) timeframe; I'm not sure whether OP means rather 'when I am available to work'. – Edwin Ashworth May 18 at 10:33
  • 1
    The question wasn't exactly clear on that point, but I took it to mean that (that is "I can work" didn't mean "I can choose to work whatever period I want between these hours"). However, I don't believe there's another single word for a single work period, you'd need to say "I'm at work between 11 and 12" -- saying "My shift is 11 till 12" would be equally well understood. – Andrew Leach May 18 at 10:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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