Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A figure which strikes the hour on the bell of some fanciful clocks; Jack o' the clock.
  • n. A timeserver; an inconstant person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figure which strikes the hour on the bell of some fanciful clocks; -- called also jack of the clock house.
  • n. A timeserver; an inconstant person.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A jack of the clock-house, or a figure which strikes the bell in a clock: used in the following passage, probably, in the sense of ‘time-server,’ ‘a person whose friendship changes with changes of the times or of fortune.’

Etymologies

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Examples

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  • The "inconstancy" suggestion here is some lexicographer being too clever by half. "Time server" in the pejorative sense means someone who lacks a true commitment to the task. Rather than working toward the goal he merely puts in his time. The minute-jack is *defined* by his constancy. He is time's loyal servant.

    The convict who's doing time in stir
    And clock-watching worker concur.
    No minute-jack knows
    The highs and the lows
    Of the time serving connoisseur.

    The clockwork man's useful power
    Is to toll the time from atop the tower.
    It brings no shame
    To invoke his name.
    The minute-jack is the man of the hour.

    March 10, 2014