Adventures in Etymology 2 – Clocks

On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word clock, as today is the day when clocks are put forward an hour, at least here in the UK.


So as we leave Greenwich Mean Time and sail off into British Summer time – appropriately it’s lovely wet and windy day – let us consider the clock, a device for measuring and indicating the time.

The word clock comes from the Middle Dutch clocke (bell, clock), from the Old Northern French cloque (bell), from the Medieval Latin clocca (bell), probably from a Gaulish word, from the Proto-Celtic *klokkos (bell), which is either onomatopeic, or from the Proto-Indo-European *klek (to laugh or cackle). From the same root we get the Welsh cloch (bell, prize, feat, clock) and related words in other Celtic languages.

Etymology from:

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly​ – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology on the Omniglot Blog.

I haven’t written any tunes or songs about clocks yet, but heres one about bells:

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