water clock


: an instrument designed to measure time by the fall or flow of a quantity of water

called also clepsydra

Examples of water clock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The oldest surviving water clocks were found in Egypt and Babylon, and the earliest of these date to around 1500 B.C.E. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 25 Apr. 2023 The earliest Chinese water clocks were probably outflow devices and were known as louke. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 25 Apr. 2023 Odell’s ideas gallop between twentieth-century time studies and ancient Chinese water clocks, Amazonian factory floors and Zoom rooms set adrift, mastery journals, Mojave poetry, second shifts, segregated leisure, Ice Age sea floors and present-day climate crisis. Gabriela Riccardi, Quartz, 22 Mar. 2023 It’s a water clock, based on a constant flow of water, but it’s a mechanical device. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 28 Jan. 2022 It’s this weird hybrid between an old-school water clock and the mechanical clocks that would be developed in Europe a century or two later. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 28 Jan. 2022 The sound of the water clock slowly filling up and then suddenly emptying brings a subtle sense of temporality that is at the same time an invitation to disconnect from time. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 First came the idea of a water clock, which was then developed by the Ancient Greeks and Arabs. Kison Patel, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 One of the most famous of his devices is an enormous water clock that featured an elephant carrying his driver and a tower filled with creatures. National Geographic, 30 July 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'water 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

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of water clock was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near water clock

Cite this Entry

“Water clock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/water%20clock. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

water clock

: a device or machine for measuring time by the fall or flow of water

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