The Meaning of Kairos: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the Ancient Greek word kairos mean, and how do you use it? This article will explain the meaning of kairos its origin.

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Have you ever heard the term kairos? This article will start by defining the word kairos and providing examples of contexts in which people use the word kairos. Then, you will learn different ways to say the word kairos both in English and in different languages. 

If you have ever wanted to learn about the word kairos, you have come to the right place!

What Does Kairos Mean?

According to Dictionary, the word kairos means opportune moment or opportune time. This is the opposite of the term chronos, which refers to clock time or the actual time. The plural of kairos is kairoi.

The use of kairos is common in classical rhetoric and composition studies. Like logos, ethos, and pathos, kairos is also used to make an effective argument. Logos is the use of logic for an argument, pathos is an emotional appeal for an argument, and ethos is the use of character to make an argument. 

Kairos refers to delivering a speech in the right place and time and in the right way for the intended audience.  

The concept of kairos is also seen in Christianity and rose to popularity via Paul Tillich’s 1936 Interpretation of History. Here, the term kairos refers to God’s time or the time that the Lord has chosen for something to occur. 

This term frequently appears in the New Testament to refer to a specific time that God chose for something to happen. You might see this term pop up in Bible study, and it is also the name of a Christian retreat popular amongst Catholic high school students.

How Can We Use Kairos in a Sentence?

People often use the term kairos moment to refer to a decisive moment or moment of perfect timing to do something. However, people can also find examples of kairos in academic contexts and the advertising and marketing world to refer to ways in which a brand or company can seize a moment to get a sale. 

What Is the Etymology of Kairos?

The word kairos is an Ancient Greek word that comes from the word καιρός. In Ancient Greece, people used this word to refer to the right time or an opportune moment for something to happen. 

What Are Translations of Kairos?

We take the term kairos from Ancient Greek. However, we might not use a direct translation of the term kairos in other languages. Some other languages do not use the original Ancient Greek term to refer to an opportune time or right moment.

Rather than risking someone misunderstanding what you mean by the term kairos, you can use a translation of the phrase “right time” instead! When you are traveling or speaking to someone who does not speak English, it is always best to take a straightforward path in translating what you mean to avoid confusion. 

Therefore, if you are trying to use the word kairos in a different language, you can use this list of “right time” translations from Nice Translator.

  • Bengali: সঠিক সময়
  • Czech: správný čas
  • Croatian: pravo vrijeme
  • Catalan: al temps correcte
  • Dutch: juiste tijd
  • Japanese: 適切なタイミング
  • Italian: momento giusto
  • Tamil: சரியான நேரம்
  • Romanian: la fix
  • Vietnamese: đúng thời điểm
  • Lithuanian: Tikslus laikas
  • Korean: 적절한 시간
  • Latvian: īstais laiks
  • Hebrew: הזמן המתאים
  • Russian: правильное время
  • Danish: rigtig tid
  • Filipino: Tamang oras
  • Hindi: सही समय
  • Amharic: ትክክለኛ ጊዜ
  • Chinese (PRC): 合适的时间
  • Marathi: योग्य वेळी
  • Malay: masa yang betul
  • Bulgarian: точно време
  • Swahili: Wakati sahihi
  • French: bon moment
  • Spanish: tiempo correcto
  • Hungarian: jó időben
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 合適的時間
  • Welsh: amser iawn
  • Greek: σωστή στιγμή
  • Malayalam: ശരിയായ സമയം
  • Swedish: rätt tid
  • Telugu: సరైన సమయం
  • Finnish: oikea aika
  • Indonesian: waktu yang tepat
  • Polish: odpowiedni czas
  • Kannada: ಸರಿಯಾದ ಸಮಯ
  • Turkish: doğru zaman
  • Ukrainian: саме час
  • Portuguese (Portugal): tempo certo
  • Icelandic: réttur tími
  • Slovenian: pravi čas
  • Basque: denbora egokia
  • Urdu: صحیح وقت
  • Slovak: správny čas
  • Serbian: право време
  • Gujarati: ખરો સમય
  • Thai: ถูกเวลา
  • Portuguese (Brazil): tempo certo
  • Norwegian: riktig tid
  • German: richtige Zeit
  • Arabic: الوقت المناسب
  • Estonian: õige aeg

What Are Synonyms of Kairos?

Kairos is a fairly uncommon term and is usually only used in rhetorical arguments or in Christian theology, so people might not know what it means if you use it in casual language. However, if you are worried about someone being confused by your use of the word kairos, you can try one of these synonyms from Power Thesaurus.

Learning synonyms is not only a great way to grow your vocabulary but a great way to increase your understanding of certain terms. For example, if you know many different ways to say the term kairos, this means that you have a good understanding of the word.

  • apparent time
  • appointed time
  • appropriate juncture
  • appropriate moment
  • appropriate period
  • appropriate point
  • appropriate time
  • appropriate timing
  • auspicious time
  • best moment
  • best time
  • better time
  • convenient time
  • correct moment
  • correct time
  • due course
  • due time
  • exact right time
  • exact time
  • exact timing
  • fine time
  • good moment
  • good time
  • good timing
  • great time
  • ideal time
  • opportune moment
  • opportune time
  • perfect time
  • perfect moment
  • pleasant time
  • precise time
  • proper moment
  • proper time
  • propitious moment
  • right moment
  • right time
  • right timing
  • suitable moment
  • suitable time
  • timeliness
  • timely manner


The definition of kairos is the right time or right moment. The term kairos is Ancient Greek in origin and literally translates to an opportune moment or a right time. Kairos is often included in the list of rhetorical terms that people can use to make a good argument. The other rhetorical terms include ethos, pathos, and logos. 

You might also find the term kairos in Christian theology as a term that refers not to an opportune time but to God’s time, or the time in which God decides to do something or cause something to happen. 


  1. Right time synonyms – 459 Words and Phrases for Right Time | Power Thesaurus 
  2. kairos | 
  3. Logos, Ethos, Pathos, Kairos | Louisville University
  4. Right Time | Nice Translator