clock

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See also: Clock

English[edit]

 clock on Wikipedia
The clock attached to Big Ben in Elizabeth Tower, London, England.
The clock of a dandelion.

Pronunciation[edit]

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, Dutch klok, Saterland Frisian Klokke (bell; clock), Low German Klock (bell, clock), German Glocke, Swedish klocka.

Doublet of cloak and cloche.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • CLK (contraction used in electronics)

Noun[edit]

clock (countable and uncountable, plural clocks)

  1. A chronometer, an instrument that measures time, particularly the time of day.
    • 1850, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC, Canto II:
      The seasons bring the flower again,
      ⁠And bring the firstling to the flock;
      ⁠And in the dusk of thee, the clock
      Beats out the little lives of men.
    • 1995, Richard Klein, “Introduction”, in Cigarettes are sublime, Paperback edition, Durham: Duke University Press, published 1993, →ISBN, →OCLC, 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
Usage notes[edit]

Clock originally denoted a mechanical timekeeping device that was able to mark the time with chimes or another sounding mechanism, distinguished from a timepiece which had no such mechanism and a horologe and other terms inclusive of sundials, clepsydras, and similar devices. Clock is now the general term for all timekeeping devices, inclusive of aspects of software that tracks and displays the time, but as a physical object it is still sometimes distinguished from a small portable watch and from nonmechanical timekeeping devices.

Synonyms[edit]
  • (instrument used to measure or keep track of time): See chronometer
  • (odometer of a motor vehicle): odometer
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb[edit]

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.
    He was clocked at 155 miles per hour.
    • 1996, Jon Byrell, Lairs, Urgers and Coat-Tuggers, Sydney: Ironbark, page 186:
      Dan Patch clocked a scorching 1:55.5 flat.
  3. (transitive, slang) To hit (someone) heavily.
    Synonyms: slug, smack, thump, whack
    When the boxer let down his guard, his opponent clocked him.
  4. (transitive, slang) To take notice of; to realise; to recognize (someone or something).
    Synonyms: check out, scope out
    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, Megan Nolan, Acts of Desperation[4], Random House, →ISBN:
      First it was only when I was with him—we would pass a pretty girl, I would notice her first, and my eyes would dart to his to see him clock her.
    • 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).
  5. (transitive, transgender slang) To identify (someone) as being transgender.
    Synonym: read
    Once my transformation was complete I considered moving to London, where I felt there was less chance of being clocked and a larger support network.
    • 2022 March 1, Charlie Markbreiter, “"Other Trans People Make Me Dysphoric": Trans Assimilation and Cringe”, in The New Inquiry[5]:
      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.
  6. (Britain, slang) To falsify the reading of the odometer of a vehicle.
    Synonyms: turn back (the vehicle's) clock, wind back (the vehicle's) clock
    I don't believe that car has done only 40,000 miles. It's been clocked.
  7. (transitive, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, slang) To beat a video game.
    Have you clocked that game yet?
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

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[6]:
      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[7], 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[8], →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
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

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]

Noun[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.

Verb[edit]

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]

Scots[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. to hatch (an egg)