• synonyms

clock watcher

  1. an employee who demonstrates lack of interest in a job by watching the time closely to be sure to stop work as soon as the workday or shift is over.
  2. any person who watches the time closely, as in expectation of some news or event.
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Origin of clock watcher

First recorded in 1885–90
Related formsclock watching, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clock-watcher

Historical Examples

  • That was one day when the best company man became a clock-watcher.

    Exploiter's End

    James Causey

  • Larner was anything but a clock-watcher, but on a certain bright day in June he was seated in his laboratory doing just that.

  • He was no respecter of time, neither did he emulate his military colleague in being a clock-watcher.

British Dictionary definitions for clock-watcher


  1. an employee who checks the time in anticipation of a break or of the end of the working day
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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

Word Origin and History for clock-watcher


"employee habitually prompt in leaving," 1887, from clock (n.1) + agent noun from watch (v.). Related: Clock-watching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper