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