What does o’clock stand for?
OF THE CLOCK
O’clock is a contraction that has become more famous and used than its original form, which was “of the clock.” The practice of saying “o’clock” is simply a remnant of simpler times when clocks weren’t very prevalent. So 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 five of the clock,” which later got slurred down to “five o’clock” sometime around the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. Using the form of “o’clock” particularly increased in popularity around the eighteenth century.
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