o'clock

[uh-klok]
adverb
  1. of, by, or according to the clock (used in specifying the hour of the day): It is now 4 o'clock.
  2. according to a method for indicating relative position whereby a plane in space is considered to be numbered as a clock's face, with 12 o'clock considered as directly ahead in horizontal position or straight up in vertical position.

Origin of o'clock

First recorded in 1710–20; see origin at o', clock1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of o'clock


British Dictionary definitions for o'clock

o'clock

adverb
  1. used after a number from one to twelve to indicate the hour of the day or night
  2. used after a number to indicate direction or position relative to the observer, twelve o'clock being directly ahead or overhead and other positions being obtained by comparisons with a clock face

Word Origin for o'clock

C18: abbreviation for of the clock
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 o'clock
adj.

c.1720, abbreviation of of the clock (1640s), from Middle English of the clokke (late 14c.). Use of clock hand positions to describe vector directions or angles is from late 18c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper