Clock

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Dr. Goodword
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Clock

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:19 pm

• clock •


Pronunciation: klahk • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A mechanical device for measuring time larger than a watch, a timepiece. 2. A source of regularly occurring electronic pulses used to synchronize operations of a computer's components.
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Notes: Here is an ordinary word with an interesting history. It may be used as a verb meaning "time with a clock or watch", hence the personal noun clocker. Doing something like clockwork means "doing it perfectly, without a hitch".

In Play: This word may be used several ways figuratively: "I can't pick you up now; I'm still on the clock" indicates you are still at work. It can also refer colloquially to the ageing process as 'biological clock'. Referring to circadian cycles, we may say: "Our biological clocks are generally synchronized with the day-night cycle of our home country."

Word History: Today's Good Word goes back to Middle English clok(k)e, which was borrowed from either Middle Dutch clocke (modern Dutch klok "bell, clock") or from Old Northern French cloque. In the Germanic languages we find German Glocke "bell" (as in Glockenspiel "bell-play"), and Norwegian klokka, Swedish klocka, Danish klokke—all meaning "bell" and "clock". The association between bells and clocks goes back to the time when European town halls had bell towers to which clocks that struck the hours were later added. The French cloque descended directly from late Latin clocca, which apparently picked it up from a Celtic language. We find Old Irish cloc (Modern Irish clog), Cornish cloch, Breton kloc'h—all meaning "bell". (Barbara Beeton thought the connection between bells and clocks would make clock a great Good Word.)
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AndyBlx
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Re: Clock

Postby AndyBlx » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:00 am

In (old-fashioned) BrE, "clock" can also mean notice, as in "Did you clock that car?"

damoge
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Re: Clock

Postby damoge » Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:58 am

Andy,
That works in AmE as well.
It is also used as in "I got so angry at him, I clocked him!"

P.S. Had never seen BrE before, let alone the alternative I used. Does something like that exist for other "versions" of the common language that (as Churchill famously said) separates us?
Everything works out, one way or another

bbeeton
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Re: Clock

Postby bbeeton » Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:34 pm

My original suggestion included another usage -- the decoration on the side of a stocking. Clocked stockings were once quite chic, but much too formal these days.

damoge
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Re: Clock

Postby damoge » Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:54 pm

Thanks for the memory jog.
I had forgotten that use altogether, though I clearly remember the stockings, and the feeling of being truly "dressed up" wearing them.
Everything works out, one way or another


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