clean one's clock
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British pronunciation/klˈiːn wˈɒnz klˈɒk/
American pronunciation/klˈiːn wˈʌnz klˈɑːk/
01

to defeat someone soundly or thoroughly in a competition or argument, often with the implication that the opponent had no chance of winning

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to [clean] {one's} clock definition and meaning

What is the origin of the idiom "clean one's clock" and when to use it?

The origin of the phrase "clean one's clock" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the early 20th century in the United States. The phrase is used to describe a defeat or victory in a competition or conflict. The most widely accepted theory is that the phrase comes from the idea of winding a clock, which involves cleaning the gears and springs inside the clock to keep it running smoothly. In the same way, "cleaning someone's clock" means to defeat or subdue them, possibly by disabling their ability to function properly.

02

to hit a person harshly during a fight or conflict

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What is the origin of the idiom "clean one's clock" and when to use it?

The idiom "clean one's clock" is believed to have originated in the United States and is related to the world of boxing and physical confrontations. The expression "clean" emphasizes the thoroughness or decisiveness of the victory, while "clock" refers to the opponent's face, particularly the face of a person who has been on the receiving end of a powerful blow. It is primarily is used to describe a situation where one person hits or strikes another person harshly during a fight or conflict.

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Example
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The schoolyard bully learned a lesson when the smaller, but skilled, student cleaned his clock with a perfectly executed roundhouse kick.
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Meaning of "To [clean] {one's} clock"
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