watch the clock

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watch the clock

To continually check the time because one desires something to end, typically because one is bored or is anxiously waiting to start a different activity. I was supposed to work on that spreadsheet, but I just watched the clock for the last two hours. Quit watching the clock and pay attention, Janine. We still have a lot of material to cover before class ends.
See also: clock, watch

watch the clock

wait eagerly for the end of working hours.
It is from this expression that the word clock-watcher has developed, referring to someone who is determined not to work more than their allotted hours.
See also: clock, watch

watch the ˈclock

(disapproving) often check what time it is, because you are impatient for something to finish or to happen: Someone who spends all their time watching the clock is usually not a good worker. ▶ ˈclock-watching noun: Don’t spend the afternoon clock-watching. ˈclock-watcher noun
See also: clock, watch
References in periodicals archive ?
She sits by the fireside embers are low it won't be long now and your daddy will show but time passes by as she watches the clock I wish he'd come home and not stay down the Docks he's probably drinking with his workmates, the fool, I've had enough of his working to rule there's no food on the table the cupboard is bare he's stuck in the alehouse he doesn't care.
Summary: It's the season for peace talks in the Middle East, as the region watches the clock and waits for the departure of the Bush administration.
Someone who constantly watches the clock and says "that's not in my job description" is unlikely to climb the next rung on the ladder.