The history of the words clock and watch Part 2
In the previously referenced dictionary report from Rice University, the Middle Dutch word “clocke” originated from the Old French word “cloche,” meaning “clock bell.” This Old French word’s origin influence came from the Late Latin term “clocca,” which indicated a sound that imitated a bell.
According to the Etymology Dictionary, it is believed that the word “clocca” was in turn derived from the Old Irish and Celtic word “clocc.”
It is possible that the Irish missionaries spread the use of the word “clocc“. The English language then adopted the word from the Middle Dutch “clocke,” modifying it to “clock,” for the first time meaning only the timepiece and not including a bell in its definition.
The term “bell” in the English language had origins in Proto-German. The word was used to replace the Old English word “dægmæl,” which meant “day measure” or “day mark”. The marking of the day. A similar word to this in the Latin language was “horologium,” of which the Greek term “hora” added with the ending “logy.” This ending in Greek is used to refer to a science, study or theory. This is where the modern English term “horology” comes from. Horology was first documented as an English word in 1819.
Clock enthusiasts know that horology is the science of measuring time.
The English language has a few other references of the word “clock” that have interesting origins.
According to the Etymology Dictionary, the term “o’clock” was used to shorten the phrase “of the clock.”
The term “of the clock” had been used before this point to refer to time on a clock face.
Air force fighter pilots will say: enemies at three and six o’clock!
Originating in 1904, the term “o’clock” was used by pilots and firearm shooters to reference directions. People still use this reference today. For example, if someone sees an enemy, they may say to a friend “Enemy at five o’clock,” referencing the position of the person from their location.
In the Etymology Dictionary is the origin of the term “clockwork.” Originated from the English language, this word emerged in the 1660s, meaning “mechanism of a clock.” The old French term “cloque” that had a part in the evolution of the word “clock” mostly indicated a bell sound. From the word “cloque,” the similar English word “cloak” emerged, created to describe the bell shape of a cloak garment. Another commonly term, “clockwise,” was born in 1879, used to describe the direction in which the hands traveled around the face of a clock. The term “clock” was paired with the word “wise,” meaning “the way of proceeding.” When combined, the meaning of “clockwise” is “the way the clock proceeds.”
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