the mechanism of a clock.
any mechanism similar to that of a clock.


    like clockwork, with perfect regularity or precision: The launching of the spacecraft went off like clockwork.

Origin of clockwork

First recorded in 1620–30; clock1 + work Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for clockwork

regularity, accuracy, smoothness, consistency

Examples from the Web for clockwork

Contemporary Examples of clockwork

Historical Examples of clockwork

  • 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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper