Why Do We Say O’clock To Denote Time?

Why Do We Say O’clock To Denote Time 2 The English Language Coach

Why Do We Say O’clock To Denote Time?

Tick-tock, tick-tock, we hear the sound of the clock ticking away. But have you ever wondered why we say “o’clock” to denote time? The origins of this word may surprise you. Let’s delve into the history of “o’clock” and find out why it has become a ubiquitous part of everyday language.

Tick Tock! Discovering the Origins of “O’Clock”

The word “o’clock” is a shortened form of “of the clocke.” (old English) In the 15th and 16th centuries, people generally used church clocks or sundials to tell the time. In order to know if the person was using a close or a sundial they would indicate the time by saying “of the clock” followed by the hour. Over time, this phrase was abbreviated to “o’clock.” The use of “o’clock” became widespread in the 17th century and has been in use ever since as a standard way of telling time.

Time Flies! Why We Use “O’Clock” in Everyday Language

Using “o’clock” has become a part of our everyday language because it provides a quick and easy way to indicate the time. It is a concise way to convey the hour of the day without having to use a more lengthy phrase although as we use a 12-hour clock we do need to specify if it is

morning or afternoon. This is especially important when confirming appointments and meetings.

Fun Facts: Tracing the History of “O’Clock” and Its Significance Today

Did you know that the first mechanical clock was invented in the 13th century? Before that, people would use sundials, water clocks, and candle clocks to measure time. The advent of the mechanical clock made it easier for people to keep track of time and paved the way for the widespread use of the term “o’clock.”

Today, “o’clock” is not only used to indicate the hour but has also become a part of idiomatic expressions such as “on the dot” and “around the clock.” It has also found its way into popular culture, with numerous references to “o’clock” in movies, TV shows, and songs.

When We Don’t Use O’clock

The 24-hour clock, often called Military time in the USA, is a clock that is divided into 24 sections, one or each hour of the day. By using the 24-hour clock there is less confusion when referring to morning or afternoon, 04:00 is always 4 am while 16:00 is always 4 pm. When using the 24-hour clock we just say the time and don’t add o’clock. It is used widely around the world with many international businesses using it to avoid confusion over meeting times, appointments and anything where it is vital to get the time correct.

So, the next time you hear someone say “o’clock,” you can impress them with your knowledge of its origins. From its humble beginnings as an abbreviation of “of the clock” to its widespread use today, “o’clock” has become an integral part of our everyday language. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun learning about language and history!

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