I recently encountered the phrase pattern "[activity noun x] o'clock" meaning "it's time to do x": once as "sex o'clock" (link is not work-safe), once as "pray o'clock" (in an unpublished story, but the phrase also appears on various web pages).

Googling turns up other phrases with this pattern: "work o'clock," "study o'clock," "dinner o'clock," and so on.

I like it--fun phrase. (Especially "sex o'clock" because it's almost a pun.) I wonder how long this has been around--anyone know? I had never seen it before about a week ago. Though it's similar to other non-numeric time identifiers, like the classic military "oh-dark-hundred."

4 Responses to “o’clock”

  1. Vardibidian

    I’ve seen it for a while, although I’ve never seen sex o’clock. I’ve heard work o’clock and sleep o’clock. I hear it from the students, mostly. I also hear getting up at crap-thirty for too early, which isn’t quite the same thing, but I like it, too, and have started using it myself (although being old I more often complain about not getting to bed until crap-thirty). I also have started using crap-ninety-nine for too expensive, mostly for something that’s cheap but expensive, if you know what I mean. they were charging crap-ninety-nine for those, sort of thing. I don’t quite know if that’s something I picked up from the students; if I did, I am probably using it incorrectly.


  2. Nao

    I’ve seen similar constructions for awhile now (a couple of years?) Stephen and I talk about getting up at Oh-God-o’-clock for times which are far too early even for us.

  3. Shmuel

    I’ve seen “shirtless o’clock” before… not sure exactly when, but I think it was in Second Life.

  4. Chris

    “Late o’clock” is one I’ve heard and used a lot.


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