The phrase "on the clock" usually refers to the period when an individual is officially in their working hours or the period during which an activity or task is supposed to be done. It is often used to denote the presence of a time constraint.
"On the clock" signifies being in one's official working period or under a time constraint.
The idiom "on the clock" typically signifies a person's official working time. People use it in the context of paid employment, indicating the period when an employee is officially considered to be at work. The phrase conveys a sense of being under time constraints or deadlines.
For example, if employees are "on the clock," they are currently at work and performing their duties. If a task is "on the clock," it needs to be finished within a specified timeframe.
The idiom "on the clock" likely comes from the use of clocks to track working hours. Employers often use clocks to monitor the start and end of an employee's workday. Hence, being "on the clock" means that the person is officially at work, and their working hours are being counted.
"The principal drawbacks of network clock distribution algorithms are the network load they generate, and the uncertain effects network delay has on the clock information they distribute."
- Synchronization of Fault-tolerant Distributed Real-time Multicomputers, 1994
To understand the idiom's application, let's review its usage in various contexts:
The idiom "on the clock" often features in various elements of popular culture:
The phrase "on the clock" has several alternatives and synonyms that convey a similar meaning, depending on the context:
The idiom "on the clock" typically refers to being within official working hours or under a time constraint to complete a task.
The phrase "on the clock" likely originates from the practice of using clocks to track work hours, thus, when someone is "on the clock," their work time is officially counted.
Generally, "on the clock" is a neutral term, signifying the state of being at work or the presence of a time constraint. It does not inherently carry negative connotations, though the context can alter its interpretation.
Yes, "on the clock" can be used in both formal and informal contexts. It's common in business writing as well as everyday speech.
Some alternatives to "on the clock" could be "working," "at work," "under time pressure," or "racing against time," depending on the context.
"On the clock" is universally understood in English, and is used in both British and American English, as well as other English-speaking regions.
Yes, "on the clock" is a common phrase and is often used in everyday conversation, particularly in discussions related to work or time-sensitive tasks.
Yes, "on the clock" can describe temporary situations, particularly those related to specific work periods or deadlines for tasks.
Yes, "on the clock" can be used to describe someone who is officially at work or has started their working period.
"On the clock" is generally used in a figurative sense to indicate a person's working period or the time constraint on a task. However, it can also be used more literally to refer to an object or task that is being timed, such as a runner who is "on the clock" in a race.
The idiom indicates that someone is working or getting paid for their time or that they are under pressure or limitations. You may use it to express urgency, efficiency, productivity, accountability, or professionalism. People also use it to describe a situation where a device measures or displays time.
Here's a quick recap: