- 1 [countable] an instrument for measuring and showing time, in a room, on the wall of a building or on a computer screen (not worn or carried like a watch) It was ten past six by the kitchen clock. The clock struck twelve/midnight. The clock is fast/slow. The clock has stopped. the clock face (= the front part of a clock with the numbers on) The hands of the clock crept slowly around. Ellen heard the loud ticking of the clock in the hall. see also alarm clock, biological clock, body clock, carriage clock, cuckoo clock, grandfather clock, o’clock, time clock See related entries: Devices
- 2the clock [singular] (informal) = milometer a used car with 20 000 miles on the clock See related entries: Parts of a car Word Origin late Middle English: from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch klocke, based on medieval Latin clocca
- 1to return to a situation that existed in the past; to remember a past age I wish we could turn the clock back two years and give the marriage another chance.
- 2(disapproving) to return to old-fashioned methods or ideas The new censorship law will turn the clock back 50 years.
to change the time shown by clocks, usually by one hour, when the time changes officially, for example at the beginning and end of summer Remember to put your clocks back tonight. a situation in which you have to do something or finish something very fast before it is too late Getting food to the starving refugees is now a race against time. (US English) if a sports team tries to run down/out the clock at the end of a game, it stops trying to score and just tries to keep hold of the ball to stop the other team from scoring compare time-wasting to stop measuring time in a game or an activity that has a time limit (disapproving) to be careful not to work longer than the required time; to think more about when your work will finish than about the work itself see also clock-watcher