• synonyms


See more synonyms for clockwork on Thesaurus.com
  1. the mechanism of a clock.
  2. any mechanism similar to that of a clock.
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  1. like clockwork, with perfect regularity or precision: The launching of the spacecraft went off like clockwork.
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Origin of clockwork

First recorded in 1620–30; clock1 + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

regularity, accuracy, smoothness, consistency

Examples from the Web for clockwork

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • His life had gradually assumed all the regularity of clockwork.

  • All right, maybe it's got a clockwork fuse that didn't break with the impact.


    James Benjamin Blish

  • My breath was short, and there was clockwork going in my head.


    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Tik-tok moved by clockwork, and was made all of burnished copper.

  • She watched them running in circles like things on wheels and moving by clockwork.

    The Beach of Dreams

    H. De Vere Stacpoole

British Dictionary definitions for clockwork


  1. the mechanism of a clock
  2. any similar mechanism, as in a wind-up toy
  3. like clockwork with complete regularity and precision
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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 clockwork


also clock-work, 1660s, "mechanism of a clock," from clock (n.1) + work (n.). Figurative sense of "anything of unvarying regularity" is recorded earlier (1620s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper