count down

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count down

1. verb To count backwards from any number to zero in preparation for something (which typically happens when the countdown reaches zero). Everyone counted down the seconds and then shouted, "Happy New Year!"
2. verb By extension, to wait for something impatiently. At this point, I'm counting down the days to my due date because I'm so sick of being pregnant!
3. noun The act of counting backwards from any number to zero in preparation for something (which typically happens when the countdown reaches zero). When used as a noun, the phrase is usually written as one word. At the end of the countdown, everyone shouted, "Happy New Year!"
See also: count, down
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

count down

to count backwards to an event that will start when zero is reached. The project manager was counting down—getting ready for the launch of the rocket. I can still hear the captain counting down: "Five, four, three, two, one, zero, blast off!"
See also: count, down
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

count down

1. Count backward from any number to zero to indicate time, as in The final seconds before take off were counted down: 10, 9, 8, etc. The down in this term refers to the decreasing size of the numbers. This usage originated in connection with the firing of missiles and spacecraft and has since been broadened to such events as the roll call of states at a political convention. [c. 1950]
2. Make final preparations for an event, as in Hong Kong was counting down to the day when it became part of mainland China. This usage is derived from def. 1. [Late 1950s]
See also: count, down
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

count down

v.
1. To count backward to zero, especially when leading to the start of an important event: With only ten seconds until midnight, the crowd counted down to the beginning of the new year.
2. To anticipate something eagerly: The children are counting down to their summer vacation.
See also: count, down
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
After the midnight countdown to the new year, the bells will ring "A Royal Peal" and "Auld Lang Syne," concluding with music from the "Royal Fireworks" by Handel.
"All Hail King Julien: New Year's Eve Countdown"- King Julien declares that every lemur must party to celebrate the new year in this three-minute special.
"Jim Henson's Word Party"- This Netflix original has its own countdown special.
Since launching the original website in November 2012, Creative Countdown immediately experienced tremendous success among customers seeking a unique way to Savor The Suspense[R] of any upcoming event, such as a wedding, birth of a child, retirement, vacation or graduation.
The idea for Creative Countdown was inspired when Joanie Hickey wanted to give her friend, Amy Gamber, a unique gift while awaiting the birth of her child.
The traffic signal countdown system provides safe and reliable solutions to these everyday problems", Brigadier Alwan said.
Carol, who will celebrate her 48th birthday on Christmas Eve, has always been very careful not to dismiss the contribution of the two men who have hosted Countdown since the death of Richard, the lovable Yorkshireman who was 61 when he died on June 26, 2005 after contracting pneumonia.
The current Countdown champ is an 11-year-old, which will do Stelling's chances no harm.
How different would our countdowns be if we had adopted the Mayans' system of counting in 20s?
Miss Vorderman is understood now to be on the same salary as Countdown co-host Richard Whitely, aged 54.
After the midnight countdown to the new year, the bells will ring a Royal Peal, then will play "Auld Lang Syne," and conclude with music from the "Royal Fireworks" by Handel.
Producer Damian Eadie said: "Jeffrey was getting the conundrums before we had a chance to start the Countdown music - in tenths of a second."
The Traditional Countdown will take place at midnight led by council member Patty Gustin, with carillon music beginning at 11:15 p.m.
Of these countries, only a small number allow pedestrian countdown signals to be used at road intersections, such as the United States and Britain.