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 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 D23 comes days after news broke that Spider-Man is exiting the MCU following a breakup between Marvel and Sony, but don't expect that to be addressed at the event, which does not include audience questions and is known for running like clockwork. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "What Marvel Might Unveil at D23," 22 Aug. 2019 Every year, like clockwork, sharks gather for their annual underwater mating dance. Mark Phillips, CBS News, "Sharks gather for annual underwater mating dance near Florida island," 22 Aug. 2019 As tenuous as that may seem, it's been happening like clockwork for about four years now. al, "Kayaking group offers ‘Monday therapy’ on Dog River," 7 Aug. 2019 Owens saw a pitcher with three types of fastball who can induce ground balls like clockwork. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "New Athletics pitcher Tanner Roark slated for Sunday debut vs. Cardinals," 2 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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Statistics for clockwork

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for clockwork

The first known use of clockwork was in 1628

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More Definitions for clockwork


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.

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

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).


something of little or no value

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