[ klok-wurk ]
/ ˈklɒkˌwɜrk /


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

British Dictionary definitions for like clockwork


/ (ˈklɒkˌwɜːk) /


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 like 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

Idioms and Phrases with like clockwork

like clockwork

Also, regular as clockwork. With extreme regularity, as in Ruth arrives every Wednesday morning just like clockwork, or You can count on his schedule, which is regular as clockwork, or Their assembly line runs like clockwork. This idiom alludes to the mechanical and therefore very regular action of a clock. [Second half of 1600s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.