clock·work | \-ˌwərk \

Definition of clockwork 

1 : the inner workings of something

2 : the machinery (such as springs and a train of gears) that run a clock also : a similar mechanism running a mechanical device (such as a toy)

3 : the precision, regularity, or absence of variation associated with a clock or clockwork a clockwork operation the planning went like clockwork

Examples of clockwork in a Sentence

the clockwork inside a mechanical toy soldier

Recent Examples on the Web

The show as a whole ran like clockwork, without any significant gaffes but also no particularly memorable outbreaks of emotion or eccentricity. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: Hope and Restraint at the Tonys. Then Came Robert De Niro.," 10 June 2018 Like clockwork, at 4:44, the devil appears, making itself out of fog and solidifying. Karen Russell, The New Yorker, "Orange World," 4 June 2017 Even when following a J-beauty routine, the cystic blemish on my chin managed to pop into view like clockwork. Rebecca Norris, Allure, "I Tried a Japanese Skin-Care Routine for a Month, and These Are the Results," 9 July 2018 Like clockwork, local artists and residents gathered in the cozy environs of The Crush Wine Lounge to sip vino, dine on delectable treats and most importantly, share their love of everything art as well as build camaraderie and friendship. Patricia Dillon, Houston Chronicle, "Art enthusiasts celebrate, build camaraderie at ‘ArtFeel Live’ in The Woodlands," 29 June 2018 Unlike many construction jobs, this one ran like clockwork. Dawn Margolis Denberg,, "1895 home is all Victorian eye candy outside and modern efficiency inside," 29 June 2018 An eerie silence descended upon the city, broken only by the azaan, the call to prayer that rang out like clockwork five times a day, spreading from the first mosque to the next, filling the entire valley of Kabul. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018 Like clockwork, the United States conducts a census every ten years to provide a snapshot of where the nation’s residents live. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How Texas Republicans Got Away With a Racially Discriminatory Electoral Map," 25 June 2018 Stock more women’s sports gear in stores Like clockwork, the start of each WNBA season is followed by complaints about difficulties getting WNBA gear. Shira Springer,, "Here are nine changes that would be good for women’s sports," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clockwork.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clockwork

1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of clockwork was in 1628

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More Definitions for clockwork



English Language Learners Definition of clockwork

: the system of moving wheels inside something (such as a clock or an old-fashioned toy) that makes its parts move


clock·work | \ˈkläk-ˌwərk \

Kids Definition of clockwork

: machinery that makes the parts of a device move

like clockwork

: in a very regular or exact way He stops in every day like clockwork.

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Comments on clockwork

What made you want to look up clockwork? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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