turn the clock back, to

turn back the clock

1. Literally, to set the clock to an earlier time. Can you turn back the clock? It's five minutes fast.
2. To revisit, recount, or recreate a time or era from the past. If I could turn back the clock, I would manage my finances better so I could retire at an earlier age. The purpose of this conference is to turn back the clock by analyzing early human remains to gain insight into their way of life.
See also: back, clock, turn

turn back the clock

 and turn the clock back
See also: back, clock, turn

turn the clock back

 and turn back the clock 
1. Lit. to set a clock to an earlier time. I have to turn the clocks back each fall. Please turn back the clock.
2. Fig. to try to return to the past. You are not facing up to the future. You are trying to turn the clock back to a time when you were more comfortable. Let us turn back the clock and pretend we are living at the turn of the centurythe time that our story takes place.
See also: back, clock, turn

turn the clock back

or

turn back the clock

COMMON If you would like to turn the clock back or to turn back the clock, you would like to return to an earlier period, usually because you would like the chance to change something that you did in the past. I'd like to turn the clock back and do things differently, but I can't. If I could turn back the clock, I might not have said that. Note: You can use the verb put instead of turn. No amount of money — not even millions like this — can put back the clock and change what happened.
See also: back, clock, turn

turn back the clock

return to the past or to a previous way of doing things.
See also: back, clock, turn

turn the clock back, to

To return to an earlier way of life; to restore past conditions. This metaphor dates from the nineteenth century and generally represents a vain attempt to return to a past era. “You can’t turn back the hands of the clock,” wrote Erle Stanley Gardner (The Case of the Turning Tide, 1941).
See also: clock, turn