"machine to measure and indicate time mechanically" (since late 1940s also electronically), late 14c., clokke, originally "clock with bells," probably from Middle Dutch clocke (Dutch klok) "a clock," from Old North French cloque (Old French cloke, Modern French cloche "a bell"), from Medieval Latin clocca "bell," which probably is from Celtic (compare Old Irish clocc, Welsh cloch, Manx clagg "a bell") and spread by Irish missionaries (unless the Celtic words are from Latin). Ultimately of imitative origin.
Wherever it actually arose, it was prob. echoic, imitating the rattling made by the early handbells of sheet-iron and quadrilateral shape, rather than the ringing of the cast circular bells of later date. [OED]
Replaced Old English dægmæl, from dæg "day" + mæl "measure, mark" (see meal (n.1)). The Latin word was horologium (source of French horologe, Spanish reloj, Italian oriolo, orologio); the Greeks used a water-clock (klepsydra, literally "water thief;" see clepsydra).
The image of put (or set) the clock back "return to an earlier state or system" is from 1862. Round-the-clock (adj.) is from 1943, originally in reference to air raids. To have a face that would stop a clock "be very ugly" is from 1886. (Variations from c. 1890 include break a mirror, kill chickens.)
I remember I remember
That boarding house forlorn,
The little window where the smell
Of hash came in the morn.
I mind the broken looking-glass,
The mattress like a rock,
The servant-girl from County Clare,
Whose face would stop a clock.
[... etc.; The Insurance Journal, January 1886]
species of tall herbs native to Europe and western Asia, 1660s, a Modern Latin translation of German fingerhut, the German name of the plant, a transferred use of the German word for "thimble," literally "finger-hat," the plant so called for the bell-shape of the flowers. Compare the English name, foxglove. The Latin name was given by Fuchs (1542). The medicine (originally extracted from the plant) is so called from 1799.
small electronic device, 1948, from transfer + resistor, so called because it transfers an electrical current across a resistor. Said to have been coined by U.S. electrical engineer John Robinson Pierce (1910-2002) of Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., where the device was invented in 1947. It took over many functions of the vacuum tube. Transistor radio is first recorded 1958.
1809, "bell attached to the neck of a cow to indicate her whereabouts" (usually oblong and of a heavy, clanking tone), from cow (n.) + bell (n.). They are cut from sheet metal (mostly copper, or iron coated with bronze) and folded into shape. As a musical instrument (without the clapper) by 1919; in that period associated with, and scorned as an absurdity of, jazz.
Art is long and time is fleeting,
And the man who cannot play,
On a cowbell wildly beating,
Calls it "jazz"—and gets away.
[from "The Psalm of Jazz," Oregon Voter, Aug. 30, 1919]
But an article on cowbells in "Hardware" magazine for Dec. 25, 1897, notes: "Cowbells are made in ten sizes, whose sounds range through an octave. Sometimes musical entertainers who play upon bells of one sort and another come to the manufacturer, and by selection among bells of the various sizes find eight bells that are accurate in scale."
kind of small falcon, windhover, c. 1600, earlier castrell (15c.), probably from Old French cresserele (13c.), earlier cercelle (Modern French crécelle), a word of obscure origin. Perhaps it is related to French crecerelle "rattle," from Latin crepitacillium "small rattle," diminutive of crepitaculum "noisy bell, rattle," from crepitare "to crackle, rattle;" possibly from the old belief that their noise frightened away other hawks. The unetymological -t- probably developed in French.
late 13c., "long, loose outer garment without sleeves," from Old North French cloque (Old French cloche, cloke) "traveling cloak," from Medieval Latin clocca "travelers' cape," literally "a bell," so called from the garment's bell-like shape (the word is thus a doublet of clock (n.1)).
An article of everyday wear for either sex in England through 16c. as a protection from the weather; a high-collared circular form revived as a fashion garment c. 1800-1840, often called Spanish cloak. Figuratively, "that which covers or conceals, a pretext," from 1520s.
Cloak-and-dagger (adj.) attested from 1848, said to be ultimately translating French de cape et d'épée, suggestive of stealthy violence and intrigue. Compare cloak-and-sword (1806) in reference to melodramatic romantic adventure stories.
Other "cloak and dagger pieces," as Bouterwek tells us the Spaniards call their intriguing comedies, might be tried advantageously in the night, .... ["Levana; or the Doctrine of Education," English translation, London, 1848]
1540s, "set of church bells," from ring (v.1). The meaning "a call on the telephone" is from 1900; to give (someone) a ring (up) "call on the telephone" was in use by 1910. Meaning "a ringing sound, the sound of a bell or other sonorous body" is from 1620s; specifically "the ringing sound made by a telephone" by 1951. The meaning "resonance of coin or glass as a test of genuineness" is from 1850, hence transferred use (ring of truth, etc.).
"emit tinkling metallic sounds," late 14c., gingeln, of imitative origin; compare tinkle (v.), Dutch jengelen, German klingeln (from Old High German klingilon (8c.), a frequentative of klingen). "There does not appear any original association with jangle" [OED]. Transitive sense "cause to emit a jingling sound" is from c. 1500. Related: Jingled; jingling. Massinger has jingle-boy "a coin" (c. 1600). Jingle-bell is attested from 1871. Jingle-brains (1700) was slang for "a wild, thoughtless, rattling fellow" [Grose].
Old English swinge "stroke, blow; chastisement," from swing (v.). Meaning "suspended seat on ropes" is from 1680s. Meaning "shift of public opinion" is from 1899. The meaning "variety of big dance-band music with a swinging rhythm" is first recorded 1933, though the sense has been traced back to 1888; its heyday was from mid-30s to mid-40s. Phrase in full swing "in total effect or operation" (1560s) perhaps is from bell-ringing. The backyard or playground swing-set is from 1951.
"single-reeded tubular woodwind instrument with a bell mouth," 1768, from French clarinette (18c.), diminutive of clarine "little bell" (16c.), noun use of fem. of adjective clarin (which also was used as a noun, "trumpet, clarion"), from clair, cler, from Latin clarus (see clear (adj.)). Alternative form clarionet is attested from 1784.
The instrument, a modification of the medieval shawm, is said to have been invented c. 1700 by J.C. Denner of Nuremberg, Germany, and was a recognized orchestral instrument from c. 1775. The ease of playing it increased greatly with a design improvement from 1843 based on Boehm's flute.
After the hautboy came the clarinet. This instrument astonished every beholder, not so much, perhaps, on account of its sound, as its machinery. One that could manage the keys of a clarinet, forty five years ago, so as to play a tune, was one of the wonders of the age. Children of all ages would crowd around the performer, and wonder and admire when the keys were moved. [Nathaniel D. Gould, "Church Music in America," Boston, 1853]
German Clarinet, Swedish klarinett, Italian clarinetto, etc. all are from French. Related: Clarinettist.