from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An embroidered or woven decoration on the side of a stocking or sock.
  • noun An instrument other than a watch for measuring or indicating time, especially a mechanical or electronic device having a numbered dial and moving hands or a digital display.
  • noun A time clock.
  • noun A source of regularly occurring pulses used to measure the passage of time, as in a computer.
  • noun Any of various devices that indicate measurement, such as a speedometer or a taximeter.
  • noun A biological clock.
  • noun The downy flower head of a dandelion that has gone to seed.
  • intransitive verb To time, as with a stopwatch.
  • intransitive verb To register or record with a mechanical device.
  • intransitive verb Informal To strike or hit (someone) forcefully, especially in the face.
  • intransitive verb To record working hours with a time clock.
  • intransitive verb To be measured or registered, especially at a certain speed or rate. Often used with in.
  • idiom (around/round) Throughout the entire 24 hours of the day; continuously.
  • idiom (clean (someone's) clock) To beat or defeat decisively.
  • idiom Sports (kill/run down) /run out) To preserve a lead by maintaining possession of the ball or puck until playing time expires.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A popular name of a beetle. Also clock-beetle.
  • noun In the sixteenth century, a decoration applied to hoods.
  • noun In the reign of Charles II. of England, a gore, plait, or piece inserted to produce the required shape of a garment.
  • noun A figured ornament on the side of the ankle of a stocking, either woven in the fabric or embroidered upon it.
  • To limp; hobble.
  • To cluck, as a hen.
  • To call by clucking.
  • In bell-ringing, to sound (a bell) by pulling the clapper without moving the bell itself. See clappering.
  • To time, as contestants in a race.
  • noun A machine designed to measure and indicate time by the motion of its parts.
  • noun A stroke of the clock; the sounding of the hour by a clock.
  • noun A watch; specifically, a watch that strikes the hour.
  • noun A clock operated by a weight in the usual way, and regulated and controlled by an electric current from another clock, an electric escapement being employed in some cases as the direct means of controlling its motion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To ornament with figured work, as the side of a stocking.
  • verb rare To call, as a hen. See cluck.
  • noun A machine for measuring time, indicating the hour and other divisions; in ordinary mechanical clocks for domestic or office use the time is indicated on a typically circular face or dial plate containing two hands, pointing to numbers engraved on the periphery of the face, thus showing the hours and minutes. The works of a mechanical clock are moved by a weight or a spring, and it is often so constructed as to tell the hour by the stroke of a hammer on a bell. In electrical or electronic clocks, the time may be indicated, as on a mechanical clock, by hands, but may also be indicated by direct digital readout, with the hours and minutes in normal Arabic numerals. The readout using hands is often called analog to distinguish it from the digital readout. Some clocks also indicate the seconds. Clocks are not adapted, like the watch, to be carried on the person. Specialized clocks, such as atomic clocks, may be constructed on different principles, and may have a very high precision for use in scientific observations.
  • noun obsolete A watch, esp. one that strikes.
  • noun obsolete The striking of a clock.
  • noun A figure or figured work on the ankle or side of a stocking.
  • noun See under Alarm.
  • noun A clock with mechanism for indicating certain astronomical phenomena, as the phases of the moon, position of the sun in the ecliptic, equation of time, etc.
  • noun A clock connected with an electro-magnetic recording apparatus.
  • noun (Naut.) a clock arranged to strike from one to eight strokes, at half hourly intervals, marking the divisions of the ship's watches.
  • noun an astronomical clock regulated to keep sidereal time.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A large beetle, esp. the European dung beetle (Scarabæus stercorarius).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A large beetle, especially the European dung beetle (Scarabaeus stercorarius).
  • noun An instrument used to measure or keep track of time; a non-portable timepiece.
  • noun UK The odometer of a motor vehicle.
  • noun electronics An electrical signal that synchronizes timing among digital circuits of semiconductor chips or modules.
  • noun the seed head of a dandelion
  • verb transitive To measure the duration of.
  • verb transitive To measure the speed of.
  • verb transitive, slang To hit (someone)
  • verb slang To take notice of; to realise.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English clokke, from Old North French cloque, bell, or from Middle Dutch clocke, bell, clock, both from Medieval Latin clocca, of imitative origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps from clock, bell (obsolete), from its original bell-shaped appearance.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

c. 1350–1400, Middle English clok, clokke, from Middle Dutch klocke ("bell, clock") (modern klok), from Old Northern French cloque 'bell' (French cloche), from Gaulish clocca (compare Welsh cloch, Irish clog), from Proto-Indo-European *klak. More at laugh. Related to Old English clucge, Low German Klock (bell, clock), German Glocke, Swedish klocka.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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  • It's funny how this word can be both a noun and a verb.

    December 10, 2006

  • What about head? Punch, arm, light? It is a fairly common occurence in English.

    December 10, 2006

  • In radio, used to describe the radio personalities' work schedule. Radio clocks are timed to the minute, including station breaks, ads, and who is working when.

    March 5, 2018