Date: 1300-1400
Language: Middle Dutch
Origin: clocke 'bell, clock', from Medieval Latin clocca 'bell', from a Celtic language


1 noun
clock1 S2 W3 [countable]
1TMC an instrument that shows what time it is, in a room or outside on a building:
The clock on the church tower said nine o'clock.
I lay there listening to the clock ticking.
Mary set her alarm clock for 6:30 am (=made sure it would ring at 6:30).
My clock stopped and I didn't wake up in time.
by the hall/kitchen/church etc clock (=according to a particular clock)
What time is it by the kitchen clock?
the clock is slow/fast (=the clock is showing an earlier or later time than the real time)
The station clock was ten minutes slow.
wind (up) a clock (=turn a key in a clock so that it keeps working)
set a clock by something (=change the time on a clock according to the time on the television, radio etc)
I set my clock by the 6 o'clock news.
clock face (=the front part of a clock)
alarm clock, carriage clock, cuckoo clock, grandfather clock

➔ watch the clock

at watch1 (8)

around the clock


round the clock

British English all day and all night without stopping:
Kim has been working round the clock to finish it in time.

put/turn the clock back

a) also set the clock back American English to go back to the way things were done in the past instead of doing things in a modern way - used in order to show disapproval:
The new employment bill will put the clock back fifty years.
b) to return to a good situation that you experienced in the past or to make someone remember such a situation:
The kids are all grown up now and you can't put the clocks back.

put the clock(s) back/forward

British EnglishTMC to change the time shown on the clock to one hour earlier or later, when the time officially changes

the clocks go back/forward

British English the time changes officially to one hour earlier or later:
The clocks go back in October.

against the clock

a) if you work against the clock, you work as quickly as you can because you do not have much time:
Everyone is racing against the clock to get things ready in time.
b) if you run, swim etc against the clock, you run or swim a particular distance while your speed is measured

twenty-four hour clock

TMC a system for measuring time in which the hours of the day and night have numbers from 0 to 23

start/stop the clock

TMC to start or stop measuring how much time is left in a game or sport that has a time limit

the clock

a) TTCTM an instrument in a vehicle that measures how far it has travelled
on the clock
a car with 43,000 miles on the clock
b) TTCTM an instrument in a vehicle that measures the speed at which it is travelling

run out the clock/kill the clock

American EnglishDS if a team runs out the clock at the end of a game, it tries to keep the ball for the rest of the game so that its opponents cannot get any points

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