clock

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun a device which shows the time

Astronomy

  • Device for keeping time. Clocks and astronomy have influenced each other profoundly for centuries. Sundials were the first clocks, and their relation to the sky is obvious and direct. They have been supplanted by clockwork and electronics, which are more precise, and by atomic clocks, which depend upon the vibrations of atoms themselves and are the most precise timekeepers known. The historic quest of clockmakers is to find a clock which is as accurate as the Earth’s own rotation, the Moon’s journey around the Earth, and the Earth’s around the Sun, which are basis of all clocks and calendars. But atomic clocks are more steady and predictable than the Earth itself, making them powerful tools for scientific investigation.

Cars & Driving

  • verb to record (a speed or time), or to time (a car)

Computing

  • noun a circuit that generates pulses used to synchronise equipment
  • verb to synchronise signals or circuits with a clock pulse

Electronics

  • A circuit or device which provides a steady stream of timed pulses. Used, for instance, as the internal timing device of a digital computer, upon which all its operations depend.
  • An instrument or device which measures and indicates time. For instance, that kept and displayed by a TV.

Slang

  • verb to notice or see, to look at. A working-class usage widespread, especially in southeast England, since World War II. The middle-class fashion since the late 1980s for imitating working-class speech brought the word into some prominence and greater respectability. It probably derives from the obsolete use of ‘clock’ to mean a person’s face.
  • verb to hit. A usage that was, and is, popular in Australia and which has been adopted in Britain (where it may have originated) and the USA. This term, used almost exclusively by men, probably also derives from the archaic term ‘clock’ meaning a person’s face; hence the verb meaning to punch (in the face).
  • verb to tamper with the mileometer of a car in order to show a low mileage. A piece of dealers’ jargon which has passed into common currency due to the wide extent of the practice.

Travel

  • noun a machine for telling the time

Origin & History of “clock”

The clock appears to have been so named because it told the hours by the chiming of a ‘bell’, medieval Latin clocca. The Latin word, which emerged in the 7th century and may have been of Irish origin, probably reached English via middle Dutch klocke. Besides being applied to time-pieces, it has also lent its name to two garments on account of their supposedly bell-like shape: cloak (13th c.), which comes from the Old French dialect cloke or cloque, and cloche hat (20th c.), from French cloche ‘bell’.
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