Definition of clockwork in English:

clockwork

noun

mass noun
  • A mechanism with a spring and toothed gearwheels, used to drive a mechanical clock, toy, or other device.

    ‘quartz watches are more accurate than those driven by clockwork’
    • ‘Loves are lost, hearts are broken, games become mere clockwork, and his passion dies.’
    • ‘More a series of sketches than a linear plot, Mon Oncle operates much like a clockwork: a series of gears, repeated movements that set off countermovements.’
    • ‘Inventor Trevor Baylis had spent years trying to raise finance for his wind-up clockwork radio.’
    • ‘Here's how Sait's son Yousuff describes the clockwork: The wall clock works for a week for one winding.’
    • ‘These Ancients, more ancient than ours but still not literally ancient, saw the world not as a giant clockwork but as an organism.’
    • ‘Later on the pinnacle of technology was the clockwork.’
    • ‘My mother was like the evil clockwork of some kind of villainous clock gone haywire.’
    • ‘He was the talisman, the cog in the clockwork that made the whole mechanism function.’
    • ‘I can't tell you how long I've been here on this traffic island, the clockwork in my watch rusted to a halt long long ago.’
    • ‘Of inventions which proved to have major significance, only the lens and clockwork travelled in the opposite direction, eastwards across Eurasia.’

adjective

  • 1attributive Driven by clockwork.

    ‘a clockwork motor’
    • ‘The external world appeared to be an automaton, a clockwork mechanism that had been regulated once and for all.’
    • ‘He manages to create a believable world of automatons and clockwork mechanisms against a backdrop of the real world.’
    • ‘Roddick is an investor in Freeplay, the company that manufactures clockwork radios, and Hotel du Vin, the boutique hotel chain.’
    • ‘Danielle jumped up and down and clapped her hands above her head like a clockwork toy gone haywire.’
    • ‘I'd be better off at Lidd with a clockwork dummy than be with you!’
    • ‘She joined Otley Junior Players and her first starring role was as a clockwork doll at the age of five.’
    • ‘It is a Thirties clockwork race game, in which two tin spaceships take turns to advance along a tramline track.’
    • ‘And now that clockwork watches - and clocks themselves - have become virtual antiques, I thought I might be able to make a living doing what I love to do.’
    • ‘It was gigantic and made of black metal, a great column filled with gears, levers, and pulleys moving together in a chaotic clockwork melee.’
    • ‘I'm stuck again, eighty feet above the warehouse floor, surrounded by Scooby Doo shampoo, clockwork frogs and sponge basketballs.’
    • ‘The new paradigm, moving beyond Newton's majestic clockwork metaphor, guides us to a new way of approaching decisionmaking.’
    • ‘Puppets are thus to be distinguished from dolls, clockwork automata, and other toys.’
    • ‘It is not a principle, like a clockwork design applied to the universe: It is an efficient intention, by an intellectual power.’
    • ‘Ok, not to worry - they've probably got a back-up clockwork ticker-tape machine lying about somewhere that'll do the job.’
    • ‘The baroque churches are glorious, chocolate-box designs, as playful and loveable as the clockwork stars of Toccata for Toy Trains.’
    • ‘To me the shape is more like an orrery, a clockwork model of the solar system.’
    • ‘Fine mechanical clockwork components allude to timing and precision; the shells or fossils also refer to time, and the format suggests balance and endurance.’
    • ‘They were real passions, and at first I thought ‘hey, wouldn't it be good to use the Internet to trade clockwork tin toys’.’
    • ‘In the early days they had a clockwork tape recorder, and sat under trees with storytellers and bottles of rum.’
    • ‘Sanderlings are characteristic of sandy beaches, running back and forth, with the ebb and flow of the tide, like so many little clockwork toys.’
    1. 1.1 Very smooth and regular.
      ‘the clockwork precision of the galaxy’
      • ‘The formal structure and brisk tempo of the third movement required almost clockwork precision.’
      • ‘He performed a few feats with clockwork precision.’
      • ‘In fact, war is often the realm of chaos, lacking the sort of clockwork linear predictability so beloved of conventional analysts both inside and outside the military.’
      • ‘The rest is how the extensive training to enable the three to act on clockwork precision is done and the robbery is met with success.’
      • ‘The entire show was coordinated with clockwork precision by the Adventure Zone staff, headed by Major Swaraj Roy.’
      • ‘The company is filled with superb technologists who are prepared to obsolete products in their prime and to churn out new ones with clockwork regularity.’
      • ‘Truly, Hero is so tightly organized that the viewer may balk at its clockwork elegance.’
      • ‘Their bodies seemed like a temple for artistic expression that gestured and moved with clockwork precision.’
      • ‘While dub is typically revered for its clockwork rhythm that snaps the mind into a trance, what is heard between the beats and the notes matter just as much.’
      • ‘Crowds have been excellent, the organisation clockwork and the sport on show has been almost universally of the highest standard.’
      • ‘With clockwork precision 50 women completed it in 10.42 hours.’
      • ‘His universe was not clockwork and right angled but smoky and numinous.’
    2. 1.2 Repetitive and predictable.
      ‘it was a clockwork existence for the children’
      • ‘I watched them both, a little taken aback, as Von Rogoff and Herr Lindstrom made clockwork conversation.’
      • ‘She's having marital difficulties, but can't stop fixating on her clockwork household.’
      • ‘Kant's private life is often parodied as one of clockwork routine, fastidious, donnish, and self-centred.’
      • ‘Reductionist science grew from the clockwork logic of Descartes.’
      • ‘There may be no other director in Hollywood who embodies the clockwork reliability of a fine timepiece more than Ron Howard.’
      • ‘It is a life dominated by clockwork routine, in which nothing out of the ordinary ever happens and the future already seems set in concrete.’
      • ‘In the clockwork universe outlined by Newton and his followers, one can calculate, and hence predict, everything.’
      • ‘Today he moved like a clockwork man, functioning in precise patterns, thinking of nothing and feeling none.’
      • ‘I ran this house with clockwork efficiency, but I did nothing worthwhile for my own fulfillment.’
      • ‘It was truly amazing to the young man how clockwork Marcus was, each poster, every billboard, he spent a specific amount of time on it, no more, no less.’
      • ‘Yet there was only one recorded clockwork crime, in which a tramp was beaten to death by a teenager.’
      • ‘Jolted by a mugging into the feeling that he is leading a clockwork, incomplete existence, Walker subsequently walks out on his spouse.’
      • ‘They take place with clockwork regularity all the year round.’
      • ‘For one thing, human beings do not experience themselves as being clockwork automata.’
      • ‘The Metro North commuter trains disturb the local fauna with clockwork regularity.’
      • ‘The clockwork appearance of periodical cicadas in late May to mid-June has long fascinated, and perplexed, entomologists.’
      • ‘Fires, both natural and human-caused, have burned seasonally dry parts of the island with clockwork regularity for millennia.’
      • ‘Regular as clockwork, you see drug dealers at the same times in the same places, five times a day, for drug drop-offs.’
      • ‘Children slept in dormitories, they ate together in silence, and they lived their days to a clockwork routine which never varied.’
      • ‘What American audiences want most, she learns, is clockwork morality plays about neglectful mothers and errant wives.’
      monotonous, tedious, boring, uninteresting, humdrum, mundane, tiresome, wearisome, dreary, soul-destroying, mind-numbing
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Phrases

  • as regular as clockwork

    • Very regularly; repeatedly and predictably.

      ‘she used to give me these chocolates Christmas and Easter, as regular as clockwork’
      • ‘He's a typical old man; very set in his ways and as regular as clockwork.’
      • ‘A new generation comes through as regular as clockwork.’
      • ‘Larry made his appearance every Sunday morning, as regular as clockwork, with a copy of the Northern Star, damp from the press.’
      • ‘Usually, it was as regular as clockwork, but this month she was grateful for the delay.’
      • ‘Each month, as regular as clockwork I would send her money so she didn't have to go back to the bar and we emailed to stay in touch.’
      • ‘Since we get a a magazine by postal subscription, delivered as regular as clockwork every Friday, we were rather suspicious.’
      • ‘Transits of Venus occur as regular as clockwork, following a simple cycle.’
      • ‘Reversals on the Sun, however, are almost as regular as clockwork - every 11 years, with its magnetic axis changing position for most of that time.’
      • ‘The customers who voted for him said he is as regular as clockwork.’
      • ‘The comedic cut scenes are as regular as clockwork and often as predictable.’
  • like clockwork

    • 1Very smoothly and easily.

      ‘the event ran like clockwork’
      • ‘Each stage ran like clockwork and bands had nothing but nice comments for the entire affair.’
      • ‘Everything ran like clockwork for the Irish fivesome who had to quickly move on to launches in Belfast, Edinburgh, Manchester and London.’
      • ‘Everything that he organised was spot-on and ran like clockwork.’
      • ‘The laboratory ran like clockwork and he kept a watchful eye on the welfare of his staff.’
      • ‘That dry run ensured everything on the big day itself ran like clockwork.’
      • ‘A picnic atmosphere prevailed and thankfully everything ran like clockwork, even with a huge entry of over 200 competitors.’
      • ‘You couldn't always expect things to go smoothly like clockwork, but he did.’
      • ‘With the help of everyone, the day ran like clockwork.’
      • ‘The whole thing ran like clockwork, from pre-show to post-show.’
      • ‘Everything was going smoothly - like clockwork.’
      without a hitch, like clockwork, with no trouble, without difficulty, easily, effortlessly, as planned, to plan, according to plan, swimmingly, satisfactorily, very well
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      1. 1.1With mechanical regularity.
        ‘these hens lay like clockwork’
        • ‘I hadn't seen Matt in a while, but his phone-calls were regular like clockwork, or had been until a week ago.’
        • ‘But last night the many city residents who nominated the man who has kept Hull's timepieces running like clockwork for 40 years, declared ‘it's about time’.’
        • ‘I am very pleased to have won, the car ran like clockwork.’
        • ‘Well, listen, when I dealt with women who were having crack-addicted babies every year like clockwork, I didn't like them particularly.’
        • ‘The #3 Audi ran like clockwork throughout the race.’
        • ‘But at SRC, we've built a system of mechanisms that makes innovation happen like clockwork.’
        • ‘Like most things Korean, they run like clockwork and like most things, almost no effort is required to use them.’
        without exception, unfailingly, constantly, regularly, invariably, dependably, conscientiously, reliably, faithfully, predictably, punctually, religiously, whatever happened, always
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Pronunciation

clockwork

/ˈklɒkwəːk/