grandfather clock


: a tall pendulum clock that stands on the floor

called also grandfather, grandfather's clock

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The cache—which has no connections to Islamic art—features pendulum clocks, self-winding clocks, decorative watches, grandfather clocks and other rare specimens. Fern Reiss, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Apr. 2023 After the leading lady was knocked unconscious by a door, she was replaced by the stage manager; when knocked unconscious as well, he was replaced by a sound technician and eventually, somehow, a grandfather clock. Jesse Green, New York Times, 19 Apr. 2023 Five fireplaces with marble hearth and surround; 14-and-a-half-foot ceilings; original floor-to-ceiling windows; oil painting portrait of the original builder, late 19th-century grandfather clock; tiger sawn oak floors; wedding garden and pergola in the back of the property. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 3 Mar. 2022 Grandfather like grandfather clock! Ross Trudeau, Outside Online, 27 Jan. 2021 But from a grandfather clock to a molecular protein to a roller coaster, every system is made up of connected parts—rivets, gears, cartilage, bone, wheels—that create friction and can break down without proper lubrication. Adrienne Bernhard, Popular Mechanics, 20 Mar. 2023 And the situation around it was a whole mechanism, a whole unbelievable grandfather clock designed to put them together. The New Yorker, 14 Feb. 2023 Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, and Harvey Keitel round out the cast of the story that involves murder, a grandfather clock, and homoerotic subtext. Vulture, 27 Nov. 2022 Like the pendulum in an old-fashioned grandfather clock, the frequency of transitions between two energy states in a cesium-133 atom tick back and forth. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 24 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grandfather clock.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the song My Grandfather's Clock (1876) by Henry C. Work †1884 American songwriter

First Known Use

1883, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of grandfather clock was in 1883

Dictionary Entries Near grandfather clock

Cite this Entry

“Grandfather clock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

grandfather clock

: a tall clock standing directly on the floor

More from Merriam-Webster on grandfather clock

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