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See also: Clock


 clock on Wikipedia
The clock at Big Ben.
The clock of a dandelion.


Etymology 1[edit]

c. 1350–1400, Middle English clokke, clok, cloke, from Middle Dutch clocke (bell, clock), from Old Dutch *klokka, from Medieval Latin clocca, probably of Celtic origin, from Proto-Celtic *klokkos (bell) (compare Welsh cloch, Old Irish cloc), either onomatopoeic or from Proto-Indo-European *klek- (to laugh, cackle) (compare Proto-Germanic *hlahjaną (to laugh)).

Related to Old English clucge, Saterland Frisian Klokke (bell; clock), Low German Klock (bell, clock), German Glocke, Swedish klocka.

Doublet of cloak.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • CLK (contraction used in electronics)


clock (countable and uncountable, plural clocks)

  1. An instrument that measures or keeps track of time; a non-wearable timepiece.
    • 1995, Klein, Richard, “Introduction”, in Cigarettes are sublime, Paperback edition, Durham: Duke University Press, published 1993, →ISBN, OCLC 613939086, page 8:
      In the June days of 1848 Baudelaire reports seeing revolutionaries (he might have been one of them) going through the streets of Paris with rifles, shooting all the clocks.
  2. (attributive) A common noun relating to an instrument that measures or keeps track of time.
    A 12-hour clock system; an antique clock sale; Acme is a clock manufacturer.
  3. (Britain) The odometer of a motor vehicle.
    This car has over 300,000 miles on the clock.
  4. (electronics) An electrical signal that synchronizes timing among digital circuits of semiconductor chips or modules.
  5. The seed head of a dandelion.
  6. A time clock.
    I can't go off to lunch yet: I'm still on the clock.
    We let the guys use the shop's tools and equipment for their own projects as long as they're off the clock.
  7. (computing, informal) A CPU clock cycle, or T-state.
    • 1984, The Journal of Forth Application and Research (volume 2, page 83)
      Executing a NEXT to code takes 7 clocks, or 1.05 microseconds.
    • 1990, Joseph F. Traub, Barbara J. Grosz, Annual Review of Computer Science (page 180)
      The best schedule produced by any hardware algorithm takes 7 clocks, whereas the statically reordered code in Figure 1.2(b) takes only 5 clocks.
  8. (uncountable) A luck-based patience or solitaire card game with the cards laid out to represent the face of a clock.
    Synonym: clock patience
  • (instrument used to measure or keep track of time): timepiece
  • (odometer of a motor vehicle): odometer
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


clock (third-person singular simple present clocks, present participle clocking, simple past and past participle clocked)

  1. (transitive) To measure the duration of.
    Synonym: time
  2. (transitive) To measure the speed of.
    • 1996, Jon Byrell, Lairs, Urgers and Coat-Tuggers, Sydney: Ironbark, page 186:
      Dan Patch clocked a scorching 1:55.5 flat.
    He was clocked at 155 miles per hour.
  3. (transitive, slang) To hit (someone) heavily.
    When the boxer let down his guard, his opponent clocked him.
    Synonyms: slug, smack, thump, whack
  4. (slang) To take notice of; to realise; to recognize someone or something.
    Clock the wheels on that car!
    He finally clocked that there were no more cornflakes.
    • 1988, “Nobody Beats the Biz”, in Goin' Off, performed by Biz Markie:
      Pardon the way that I be talking ’bout the places I be rocking
      I love to perform for the people that be clocking
    • 2000, Phil Austin, Naugahide Days: The Lost Island Stories of Thomas Wood Briar[1], page 109:
      Bo John and I twisted our heads around as Miranda braked over to the gravelly shoulder, let the Scout wheeze to a stop. She was climbing out, hurrying back to whatever had caught her eye. Bo John leered into the door mirror, clocking her flouncing, leggy strut.
    • 2005, Jr. Aaron Bryant, Cupid Is Stupid[2], page 19:
      It is true. Carmen is an official gold digger. In fact, she is an instructor at the school of gold digging. Hood rats have been clocking her style for years. Wanting to pull the players she pulled, and wishing they had the looks she had.
    • 2006, Ken Bruen, Dublin Noir: The Celtic Tiger Vs. the Ugly American[3], page 36:
      And he waits till I extend my hand, the two fingers visibly crushed. He clocks them, I say, "Phil."
    • 2006, Lily Allen (lyrics and music), “Knock 'Em Out”:
      Cut to the pub on a lads night out, / Man at the bar cos it was his shout, / Clocks this bird and she looks OK, / Caught him looking and she walks his way,
    • 2021 December 29, Stephen Roberts, “Stories and facts behind railway plaques: Lancaster (1860)”, in RAIL, number 947, page 58:
      I had just long enough at Lancaster to clock another plaque to a great Victorian railway engineer, Joseph Locke (1805-60).
    Synonyms: check out, scope out
    1. (transgender slang) To identify someone as being transgender.
      A trans person may be able to easily clock other trans people.
      • 2017 April 26, Katelyn Burns, “I'm A Trans Mom, & This Was My Style Journey”, in Romper[4]:
        For me, makeup was like armor. I figured that if I applied it well enough, people wouldn't be as likely to clock me as a trans woman.
      • 2019 September 1, Dani Nett, “For Trans Women, Silicone 'Pumping' Can Be A Blessing And A Curse”, in NPR[5]:
        Consuella Lopez, the director of operations and housing at Casa Ruby, remembers. "The more passable your body was, the less bullying you'd get, the more chances of you getting a regular job at a regular place without somebody clocking you."
      • 2020 January 15, Princess Weekes, “Beauty Guru Nikkie Tutorials Came Out as a Trans Woman, but Under Distressing Circumstances”, in The Mary Sue[6]:
        These issues are not a game, and it is gross to use someone's coming out story as a way of testing your ability to "clock" trans women.
      • 2022 March 1, Charlie Markbreiter, “"Other Trans People Make Me Dysphoric": Trans Assimilation and Cringe”, in The New Inquiry[7]:
        Quarantine had thrown a new wrench "do not perceive me" discourse, but trans people have arguably always had a messy relationship to being perceived. We avoid it, and yet we also juice our lives to be seen. Getting clocked feels bad, but being hot feels good.
  5. (Britain, slang) To falsify the reading of the odometer of a vehicle.
    I don't believe that car has done only 40,000 miles. It's been clocked.
    Synonyms: turn back (the vehicle's) clock, wind back (the vehicle's) clock
  6. (transitive, Britain, New Zealand, slang) To beat a video game.
    Have you clocked that game yet?
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin uncertain; designs may have originally been bell-shaped and thus related to Etymology 1, above.


clock (plural clocks)

  1. A pattern near the heel of a sock or stocking.
    • 1882, W.S. Gilbert, “When you're lying awake”, in Iolanthe, or The Peer and the Peri[8]:
      But this you can't stand, so you throw up your hand,
      and you find you're as cold as an icicle,
      In your shirt and your socks (the black silk with gold clocks),
      crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle
    • 1894, William Barnes, “Grammer's Shoes”, in Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect, page 110:
      She'd a gown wi' girt flowers lik' hollyhocks
      An zome stockèns o' gramfer's a-knit wi' clocks
    • 2004, Sheila McGregor, Traditional Scandinavian Knitting[9], Courier Dover, →ISBN, page 60:
      Most decoration involved the ankle clocks, and several are shown on p.15 in the form of charts.
    • 2006, J. Munslow, Kathryn McKelvey, Fashion Source Book[10], →ISBN, page 231:
      Clocks: These are ornamental designs embroidered or woven on to the ankles of stockings.
    • c. 1720, Jonathan Swift, An Essay on Modern Education
      his stockings with silver clocks were ravished from him


clock (third-person singular simple present clocks, present participle clocking, simple past and past participle clocked)

  1. (transitive) To ornament (e.g. the side of a stocking) with figured work.

See also[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]


clock (plural clocks)

  1. A large beetle, especially the European dung beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius).

Etymology 4[edit]

Old English cloccian ultimately imitative; compare Dutch klokken, English cluck.


clock (third-person singular simple present clocks, present participle clocking, simple past and past participle clocked)

  1. (Scotland, intransitive, dated) To make the sound of a hen; to cluck.
  2. (Scotland, intransitive, dated) To hatch.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]



clock (third-person singular simple present clocks, present participle clockin, simple past clockit, past participle clockit)

  1. to hatch (an egg)