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[klok] /klɒk/
an instrument for measuring and recording time, especially by mechanical means, usually with hands or changing numbers to indicate the hour and minute: not designed to be worn or carried about.
a meter or other device, as a speedometer or taximeter, for measuring and recording speed, distance covered, or other quantitative functioning.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Horologium.
Computers. the circuit in a digital computer that provides a common reference train of electronic pulses for all other circuits.
verb (used with object)
to time, test, or determine by means of a clock or watch:
The racehorse was clocked at two minutes thirty seconds.
Slang. to strike sharply or heavily:
Somebody clocked him on the face.
Verb phrases
clock in, to begin work, especially by punching a time clock:
She clocked in at 9 on the dot.
clock out, to end work, especially by punching a time clock:
He clocked out early yesterday.
around the clock,
  1. during all 24 hours; ceaselessly.
  2. without stopping for rest; tirelessly:
    working around the clock to stem the epidemic.
clean (someone's) clock, to defeat; vanquish.
kill the clock, Sports. to use up as much game time as possible when one is winning, as to protect a lead in basketball, ice hockey, or football.
Also, run out the clock.
stop the clock, to postpone an official or legal deadline by ceasing to count the hours that elapse, as when a new union contract must be agreed upon before an old contract runs out.
Origin of clock1
1350-1400; Middle English clok(ke) < Middle Dutch clocke bell, clock; akin to Old English clucge, Old High German glocka (German Glocke), Old Irish clocc bell; cf. cloak Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clock out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The madwoman might easily mistake the date and hasten the catastrophe, like a clock out of order which strikes an hour too soon.

  • They've had a mighty good chance at it, sprawlin' around here on the floor and the clock out o' sight behind the pulpit.'

    The Land of Long Ago Eliza Calvert Hall
  • The clock out in the kitchen struck eleven ponderously as Helen set the bottle away and put the screen before the window.

  • I want you to come and get your clock out of my sight and if you have time to saw me some wood I will pay cash.

    The Jack-Knife Man Ellis Parker Butler
  • It was not till 1837 that it occurred to any of these ingenious makers of timepieces to produce a one-day clock out of brass.

  • The sunlight came in, and her shadow, set in a bright square, wavered on the floor; the clock out in the kitchen ticked.

    Jane Field Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • Why are the selfish agitators among the operatives like the works of a clock out of order?

British Dictionary definitions for clock out


a timepiece, usually free-standing, hanging, or built into a tower, having mechanically or electrically driven pointers that move constantly over a dial showing the numbers of the hours Compare digital clock, watch (sense 7)
any clocklike device for recording or measuring, such as a taximeter or pressure gauge
the downy head of a dandelion that has gone to seed
an electrical circuit that generates pulses at a predetermined rate
(computing) an electronic pulse generator that transmits streams of regular pulses to which various parts of the computer and its operations are synchronized
short for time clock
around the clock, round the clock, all day and all night
the clock, an informal word for speedometer, mileometer
(Brit) a slang word for face
against the clock
  1. under pressure, as to meet a deadline
  2. (in certain sports, such as show jumping) timed by a stop clock: the last round will be against the clock
put the clock back, to regress
(transitive) (Brit & Austral, NZ, slang) to strike, esp on the face or head
(transitive) (Brit, slang) to see or notice
(transitive) to record time as with a stopwatch, esp in the calculation of speed
(electronics) to feed a clock pulse to (a digital device) in order to cause it to switch to a new state
Derived Forms
clocker, noun
clocklike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Middle Dutch clocke clock, from Medieval Latin clocca bell, ultimately of Celtic origin


an ornamental design either woven in or embroidered on the side of a stocking
Word Origin
C16: from Middle Dutch clocke, from Medieval Latin clocca bell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clock out



late 14c., clokke, originally "clock with bells," probably from Middle Dutch clocke (Dutch klok) "a clock," from Old North French cloque (Old French cloke, Modern French cloche), from Medieval Latin (7c.) clocca "bell," probably from Celtic (cf. Old Irish clocc, Welsh cloch, Manx clagg "a bell") and spread by Irish missionaries (unless the Celtic words are from Latin); ultimately of imitative origin.

Replaced Old English dægmæl, from dæg "day" + mæl "measure, mark" (see meal (n.1)). The Latin word was horologium; the Greeks used a water-clock (klepsydra, literally "water thief"). Image of put (or set) the clock back "return to an earlier state or system" is from 1862. Round-the-clock (adj.) is from 1943, originally in reference to bomber air raids.



"to time by the clock," 1883, from clock (n.1). The slang sense of "hit, sock" is 1941, originally Australian, probably from earlier slang clock (n.) "face" (1923). Related: Clocked; clocking.



"ornament pattern on a stocking," 1520s, probably identical with clock (n.1) in its older sense and meaning "bell-shaped ornament."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for clock out

clock in

verb phrase

To come or go at a certain recorded time, esp to or from a job where a time clock is used; PUNCH IN (or OUT) (1920s+)



  1. To hit; sock: who clocked me when I wasn't looking/ She clocked him with the portable telephone (1920s+ Australian)
  2. To time, esp with a stopwatch: They clocked her at 6:05:03.65 (1880s+)
  3. To achieve a specified time: I clocked a two-minute lap yesterday (1892+)
  4. To get; amass: Malcolm Forbes is clockin' megadollars (1980s+ Teenagers)
  5. To watch; keep one's eye on: He is always clockin' girls (1980s+ Teenagers)
  6. To waste one's time; detain one: Why're you clockin' me? I got people to see (1980s+ Teenagers)

Related Terms

clean someone's clock

[first sense probably related to clock, ''face'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with clock out
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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