• (file)

Prepositional phraseEdit

on the clock

  1. (literally) Displayed on the dial of a clock (timepiece).
    • 1922, D. H. Lawrence, "The Horse Dealer's Daughter," in England, My England:
      It was six o'clock on the clock. His own watch had stopped.
  2. (idiomatic) Working at one's job; occupied in some manner during one's hours of remunerated employment.
    • 1983, Odie Hawkins, Scars and Memories, →ISBN, pp. 97-98:
      I discovered after my arrival that I wouldn't be able to start working for six weeks. . . . The Beverley Hills Post Office finally worked my status out with the Chicago Post Office. I was back on the clock.
    • 2006, Dave Caldwell, "Patrick Is First Only in Fans' Hearts ," New York Times, 16 May (retrieved 20 Apr. 2009):
      Danica Patrick is still on the clock. Her crew members . . . are at the end of their workday. Hers drags on.
    • 2007, "VP drops in for quick visit to S.A.," San Antonio Express-News, 22 January (retrieved 20 Apr. 2009):
      "I guess it ain't all bad," Kerr said, lighting another cigarette. "I'm on the clock, so I'm getting paid while I wait."
  3. (idiomatic) During one's official working hours; in or into a position of remunerated employment.
    • 1997, Tamala Edwards and James Carney, "Disaster on the Potomac: How not to run a city," Time, 18 August:
      Money earmarked for services and repairs often found its way to payroll, to put yet more unskilled workers on the clock.
    • 2007, Kristin Shaw, "More work means more pay," The Independent (US), 28 August (retrieved 20 Apr. 2009):
      The board authorized the Building Department to schedule Saturday inspections for water line installations as a service to residents and businesses. It requires inspections to be done "on the clock" and in a town vehicle.
  4. (idiomatic) Of a taxicab, engaged for hire; displayed numerically as time or fare on the meter of a taxicab.
    • 1971, Barry Pain, "Mrs. Murphy" in Humorous stories, →ISBN, p. 90:
      If a fare paid him no more than what was on the clock, he'd shout out: "If you can't afford cabs you should take the 'bus."
    • 2005, "Cost Controls, Fine—But THAT'S Ridiculous," hereisthecity.com (UK), 22 April (retrieved 20 Apr. 2009):
      Significant monies are wasted each week as bankers leave taxis outside, waiting on the clock, while they finish their lunches.
  5. (sports) In the official time remaining in a game or other sporting event.
    • 1989, Dave Anderson, "Sports of the Times: Jackson Hits 'Biggest Shot Of My Life'," New York Times, 28 April (retrieved 20 Apr. 2009):
      With only three seconds on the clock and the Knicks about to win, 102-96, in their playoff opener against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden last night, Rick Pitino enjoyed the moment.
  6. (sports) In the official time expired in a game or other sporting event.
  7. (chiefly sports drafts) Under scrutiny due to having to make a decision or produce results within a set period of time.
  8. (of a motor vehicle) Displayed numerically on the mileage or kilometric gauge.
    • 2008, "A grand way to keep travelling," Irish Times, 19 November (retrieved 20 Apr. 2009):
      And with 112,000 miles on the clock this isn't scary mileage for this type of car.
  9. Remunerated per unit of time.
    Alas, the delivery boy is on the clock; he could and would work much faster on commission!


See alsoEdit