clock·​work | \ ˈkläk-ˌwərk How to pronounce clockwork (audio) \

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 used in the phrase like clockwork to describe something that happens or works in a regular and exact wayThis type of star has a wonderful property: Its brightness waxes and wanes like clockwork— Ron CowenIf everything went like clockwork, it would have taken a year to get items in stores.— Brooks Barnes

Examples of clockwork in a Sentence

the clockwork inside a mechanical toy soldier
Recent Examples on the Web Like clockwork, most Hallmark movies include someone — typically the main character — finding the magic of Christmas again. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Hallmark's 'Holiday Hearts' Shows Ashley Williams and Paul Campbell Rekindling an Old Romance," 22 Nov. 2019 Hordes of Canadian geese visit the Eastern Shore’s extensive wetlands every October, like clockwork. Sameer Rao,, "Traveling Eastern Shore’s mural trail, where everything from Civil Rights to birds in flight are honored," 31 Oct. 2019 Like clockwork, a magic moment clicks into time at Lake Berryessa at the end of October. Tom Stienstra,, "Everything you need to know to visit Lake Berryessa in fall," 18 Oct. 2019 Like clockwork, at the change of every season, I get hit with a cold, and my skin freaks out. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "How 5 Women With Great Skin Transition Their Skin-Care Routines to Fall," 30 Sep. 2019 And so, like clockwork, this maddening math problem has gone viral, following in the grand tradition of such traumatic events as The Dress and Yanny/Laurel. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "This Simple Math Problem Drove Our Entire Staff Insane. Can You Solve It?," 31 July 2019 Like rainy clockwork, Alaska's fire season usually ends August 1 but the Swan Lake fire is still burning and only 37% contained. Bill Weir, CNN, "Alaska just had the most ridiculous summer. That's a red flag for the planet.," 9 Sep. 2019 Giant clockworks sit atop the Edison at Disney Springs, an industrial-goth style restaurant offering classic American cuisine and later-night caberet. Marjie Lambert, miamiherald, "What's new at Disney Springs? Cabaret, virtual reality and a hidden speakeasy | Miami Herald," 9 May 2018 Dead plants and animals no longer absorb carbon-14, and the trapped carbon starts to decay like clockwork. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Colossal volcano behind 'mystery' global cooling finally found," 23 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for clockwork

Time Traveler

The first known use of clockwork was in 1628

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Statistics for clockwork

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Clockwork.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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How to pronounce clockwork (audio)

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
used to describe something that happens or works in a very regular and exact way often used before another noun


clock·​work | \ ˈkläk-ˌwərk How to pronounce clockwork (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on clockwork

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clockwork

Spanish Central: Translation of clockwork

Nglish: Translation of clockwork for Spanish Speakers

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