The History of the words Watch and Clock
The word “clock” was likely derived from the Middle Dutch word “clocke.” An etymology and word origin list from Rice University states that the word “clocke” was used to describe the noise making bell in the church tower and is defined as a bell clock.
From the description in the definition, the bell in the Dutch church towers made a lower “bong” type of sound instead of the high pitched clang sound that is most commonly associated with church tower bells. The word “clocke” was formulated before clocks with faces emerged. The description states that later a “newfangled timekeeper” with a rounded face and hands was added to the church tower.
“Clocke” was the original word, but when the English imported the timepieces, they shortened the name to “clock.” Differences in the English and Dutch language affecting this issue were that the Dutch language had one word that meant both “bell” and “clock,” while the English language developed two separate words. One English word meant “clock” and one meant “bell,” to not cause confusion between the two and provide a distinction between a ringing bell and a clock with a face.
In the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “clock” originated in the late 14th century. This time line matches with the above reference because clocks in this era were not the typical face clocks that displayed the time, featuring a face and hands.
The Anderson Institute reports that during the 14th century, the clocks used then are now referred to as turret clocks. Turret clocks were devices powered by a verge escapement, weights and chains. The bell clock was then placed in the bell tower to chime the passing hours. The chains had to be wound and would often lose balance, resulting in the hours being tolled late or early; these clocks were not very accurate.
One of the oldest surviving turret clocks exists today in England and dates to 1386. Located in the Salisbury Cathedral, this clock only tolls the hours. In clock history, these beginning devices were the predecessor of larger wall clocks with faces that had similar functions and structure.
The word “clocke” also had influence from words in other foreign languages.
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.”
Many terms related to time. Clocks and watches have an extensive history, some dating back to ancient Egyptian water clocks.
As time continues, more words with “clock” or “watch” in them will emerge, especially as technology continues to advance.
100 years ago, the term “clock radio” or “cell phone clock” would not appear in any dictionary.
The wristwatch concept goes back to the production of the very early watches in the 16th century. Elizabeth I of England received a wristwatch from Robert Dudley in 1571, described as an arm watch. Initially, wrist watches were almost exclusively worn by women. Men used pocket watches up until the early 20th century.
The Garstin Company of London patented a “Watch Wristlet” design in 1893, but they were probably producing similar designs from the 1880s.
Wristwatches were first worn by the military towards the end of the 19th century, when the importance of synchronizing maneuvers during combat. The British Army began using wristwatches during colonial military campaigns in the 1880s. The importance of coordinating troop movements and synchronizing attacks against the highly mobile insurgents became paramount, and the use of wristwatches subsequently became widespread among the officers. The company Mappin & Webb began production of their successful “campaign watch” for soldiers during the campaign at the Sudan in 1898 and increased production for the wars a few years later.
The West Linn Clock Class