Fashionable Watches

Why We Say “O’Clock”

Why We Say “O’Clock”


Hello, I’m Daven Hiskey, you’re watching the
TodayIFoundOut YouTube channel. In the video today, we’re looking at why,
when stating the time, it’s common to add “o’clock”. The practice of saying “o’clock” is
simply a remnant of times when clocks weren’t very prevalent and people told time by various
means, depending on where they were and what references were available. Generally, of course, the Sun was used as
a reference point, with solar time being slightly different than clock time. Clocks divide the time evenly, whereas, by
solar time, hour lengths vary somewhat based on a variety of factors, like what season
it is. Thus, to distinguish the fact that one was
referencing a clock’s time, rather than something like a sundial, as early as the
fourteenth century one would say something like, “It is six of the clock,” which
later got slurred down to “six o’clock” sometime around the sixteenth or seventeenth
centuries. In those centuries, it was also somewhat common
to just drop the “o’” altogether and just say something like “six clock.” Using the form of “o’clock” particularly
increased in popularity around the eighteenth century when it became common to do a similar
slurring in the names of many things such as “Will-o’-the wisp” from “Will of
the wisp” (stemming from a legend of an evil blacksmith named Will Smith, with “wisp”
meaning “torch”) and “Jack-o’-lantern” from “Jack of the lantern” (which originally
just meant “man of the lantern” with “Jack,” at the time, being the generic “any man”
name. Later, either this or the Irish legend of
“Stingy Jack” got this name transferred to referring to carved pumpkins with lit candles
inside). While today with clocks being ubiquitous and
few people, if anybody, telling direct time by the Sun, it isn’t necessary in most cases
to specify we are referencing time from clocks, but the practice of saying “o’clock”
has stuck around anyway. So thanks for watching this video, if you
liked it, please click that like button below and consider sharing it with anyone you think
might be interested. And if you’re new to the channel, don’t forget
to subscribe for many more videos like this. Finally, if you’ve got something you’ve always
wondered about that you’d like us to do a deep dive on, don’t hesistate to ask in the
comments below. Thanks for watching.


Reader Comments

  1. Ever since I noticed this guy's left eyebrow in another video I can't stop looking at it and have trouble watching any vid he's in.

  2. Over the course of time "we" dropped the f from the "of clock". It's a sad commentary that nowadays far too many people have picked up the f by using "the f word" and use it too frequently, and not at all would be the best for all.

  3. We will all agree we prefer Simon but hey you read pretty well. Just stand up if you are seated or straighten that back and push those shoulders behind for universe sake!

  4. I get a laugh in the classic film "Casablanca" when a pair of refugees enroute to America are practicing their English and to ask the time the wife asks "What watch?" the husband looks at his wristwatch and replies "It's six watch" to which the wife replies "Such watch?".

  5. I do not like you Daven….. Something about you makes me think I would never get tired of kicking your weird face in. I have no idea what compels me to take such action.

  6. I guess it's still a little handy in determining whether or not you are referring to the 24 or 12 hour clock because in the 24 hr clock you use the term "Hundred" in place of " 'O clock".

  7. o'clock is obvious.
    But what about the Brit's:
    "Half 9", of "half 11"

    I'm never sure if that 8:30 or 9:30.

  8. In the military, especially in aviation, a 24 hour clock is used to tell time, but an imaginary "civilian" clock with the pilot at the center is used to tell the relative direction of another craft. Twelve o'clock is straight ahead, six is directly behind, and three and nine are directly off to either side. Sometimes a relative altitude is added, as in the WWII movie "Twelve O'Clock High," meaning a "bogey" or enemy plane directly ahead and above.

  9. Wrong, the phrase O,Clock was invented in Ireland by a man named Patrick O,Clock, he was a time keeper at Dublin cathedral and people used to shout to him 'whats the time O,Clock'? and he responded with the according time, the name O,Clock stuck and was taken around the world were it is now commonly used.

  10. I remember this from elementary school. That's why there is an apostrophe, to represent that words are omitted.

  11. But if its 6:30 they wouldn't say it's six thirty o'clock. So how did they tell the difference between clock time and sundial time then?

  12. An old-fsshioned expression for "what's the time" or "what time is it?" is "what o'clock is it?".

  13. when I was little I used to know what time lunch and dinner were coming from the shadows from the trees on the backyard patio

  14. Who else clicked this video thinking that it would be narrated by the pretty girl. Instead, we got the talking frog again.

  15. Drat, another video that I can't watch. They really ought to get rid of this guy & just stick with Simon.

  16. How did people talk about short periods of time back before we had devices to measure them.

    EX: How would you say, "I'll be back a couple minutes" if minutes hadn't been invented yet. Of course, even without devices, people would be able to estimate them and thus I would imagine they'd have some sort of vocabulary based on it.

  17. The quote from 0:12 – 0:20 is completely word for word plagiarized. Literaly didn't even change one word…

    I don't understand why monetized YouTube channels don't have to cite their sources… I know almost no channels does, but it would be the right thing to do.

  18. If you enjoyed this video then check out another and find out the answer to the question- Why Do Screws Tighten Clockwise?:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeWmo8yx8AY

  19. Funny, I haven't called it a 'Jack O'Lantern' since I was a kid. It's a punkin with a candle in it. What do you say when you're carving one? "I'm carving a punkin." The fun ones are the ones you drop an M80 into… But they don't make M80s anymore, so these youguns now don't know how to blow shit up like we did in the 70s.

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