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Grandfather clock

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Grandfather clock'?

A name for the kind of weight-and-pendulum eight-day clock in a tall case, formerly in common use.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Grandfather clock'?

Grandfather clockGrandfather clock is the colloquial name for the style of clock that is more properly called a Longcase clock. The clocks live up to their name and are very tall - a feature that is alluded to in Henry Clay Work's 1876 song Grandfather's Clock, which is the source of the name:

My grandfather's clock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

Smaller models of longcase clock are sometimes called grandmother (nominally, shorter than 6' 3") and grand-daughter (shorter than 5' 2") clocks. These names derive from grandfather clock and have no other connection to grandmothers or grand-daughters.

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