Around The Clock: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 20, 2023

"Around the clock" means continuously without stopping, especially over a 24-hour period. This phrase often describes a continuous action or process that does not halt, whether day or night. For example, if a team works around the clock, they work in shifts so that someone is always on duty.

In short:

  • It refers to something happening continuously, 24 hours a day.
  • It means without any breaks or interruptions throughout the day and night.

What Does "Around the Clock" Mean?

The phrase "around the clock" describes something ongoing or non-stop. When you say something operates or goes "around the clock," it means it never stops; it works or lasts the entire day, all 24 hours. This phrase expresses the idea of full-time commitment or effort.

Let's explore its core meanings and usage:

  • "Around the clock" means continuous activity or operation without any breaks.
  • The phrase often describes work, services, or activities that don’t stop, like a hospital that provides "around the clock" care.
  • "Around the clock" shows a sense of tireless effort or commitment to a task.
  • It can be used in a sentence like: "They try to make it up to their customers around the clock, always prioritizing client satisfaction." This illustrates the non-stop effort being put in.
  • Common synonyms include "round-the-clock," "non-stop," "continuous," and "24/7."

Where Does "Around the Clock" Come From?

The idiom "around the clock" likely originated from the concept of a traditional analog clock, where the hands move in a circle 24 hours a day. This constant movement visualizes continuous activity or operation, which is how the phrase gets its meaning. Today, it is used metaphorically to describe any activity that happens all day without breaks.

Historical Example

"Hands of red, blue, green and yellow ran around the clock, but one of the hands was black and much longer than the others."

- The Churchman, Volume 97 , 1908

10 Examples of "Around the Clock" in Sentences

To help you grasp the use of this phrase better, let's look at examples from different situations:

  • During emergencies, doctors often work around the clock to save lives.
  • My boo works hard around the clock, ensuring everything is in order for our big project.
  • Parents sometimes feel like they're on duty around the clock when their baby is newborn.
  • Security at the event will be around the clock to ensure everyone's safety.
  • See you then; I'll be working around the clock for the week.
  • The bakery prepares fresh bread around the clock to cater to the demands of the city.
  • That's too bad they had to work around the clock.
  • Finding a convenience store open around the clock is a boon for night owls.
  • If you ever encounter any issues or need support, feel free to get in touch with us; we're available around the clock.
  • To each his own, but many customers have expressed a preference for our around-the-clock support and service.

Examples of "Around the Clock" in Pop Culture

This phrase has made its appearance in pop culture, denoting continuous actions or activities.

Let's delve into some instances:

  • Around the Clock: With Audio Recording" is a 2015 picture book by renowned New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast showcasing her unique and zany humor.
  • Amanda M. Lee penned the 2019 book "Witchin' Around the Clockbooks," which dives into mystery and magic as Bay Winchester senses a sinister force after the local blacksmith is murdered. With a wedding on the horizon, she and her family must unveil the darkness before it's too late.
  • Yakini delivers a line, "My circle I get it around the clock," in his song "Around The Clock."
  • The song "Rock Around the Clock" by Ringo Starr features the catchy phrase, "We're gonna rock around the clock tonight."
  • The Sex Pistols, in their rendition of "Rock Around the Clock," sing, "Put your glad rags on and join me, hon, We'll have some fun when the clock strikes one."

Other/Different Ways to Say "Around the Clock"

Several other expressions convey the same meaning as "around the clock."

Here's a list of some:

  • All day and night
  • 24/7
  • Continuously
  • Non-stop
  • Without a break
  • Endlessly
  • Day in, day out
  • Every hour of the day
  • At all times
  • Without interruption

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Around the Clock":

  • What does "around the clock" mean?

"Around the clock" refers to something that is happening all day and all night without any breaks, essentially 24 hours a day.

  • How can I use "around the clock" in a sentence?

This phrase can be used to describe any continuous activity or service. For example: "Around the clock, we're making changes in the interim." "I feel in a rut from working around the clock."

  • Where does the phrase "around the clock" come from?

The phrase "around the clock" is derived from the continuous movement of the hands of a clock, symbolizing uninterrupted, ongoing activity.

  • Can you use it in personal contexts?

Yes, "around the clock" can be used in personal and professional contexts. For instance, you might say, "I've been studying around the clock for my exams."

  • Does it mean the activity is non-stop?

Yes, when you say something is happening "around the clock," it implies that the activity or service is ongoing without any breaks.

  • Is it used only for services?

No, while it's commonly used to describe services that are available 24/7, it can also be used to describe any continuous activity, like studying, working, monitoring, etc.

  • What is its significance in the professional world?

In the professional world, "around the clock" often refers to services that are available at all times or to intense work periods where teams might work in shifts to ensure continuous progress.

  • Can it refer to an upcoming event?

Yes, it can be used to describe a future event that will occur continuously. For example, "The charity event will run around the clock over the weekend.

  • Does it imply a strenuous activity?

Not necessarily. Although it can often indicate a demanding situation because of the constant nature of the activity, the phrase itself simply denotes something happening continuously over a 24-hour period.

  • Is "around the clock" the same as "24/7"?

Yes, "around the clock" and "24/7" are generally used interchangeably to mean something that goes on continuously, all day, every day.

Final Thoughts About "Around the Clock"

The phrase "around the clock" is a handy way to express that something is occurring continuously, without interruption, for 24 hours a day. Whether it's a service available for your convenience, a team working tirelessly to meet a deadline, or someone studying intensively for an important exam, "around the clock" conveys the idea of ongoing, ceaseless activity.

Here's a quick recap:

  • It describes the continuous, non-stop nature of an activity or service.
  • This phrase can be used in various contexts, from describing a service available at all times to indicating a strenuous study or work session.
  • It can describe past, ongoing, or future events, making it a flexible addition to your vocabulary.
  • Remember, "around the clock" doesn't necessarily imply something strenuous or difficult—it's simply about the continuous nature of the activity or service.

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