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July 1, 2004

Slang of the Week: clean someone’s clock (verb phrase)
To beat someone

Example:
“Give me all the Rolexes,” said the thief to the watchmaker, “or I’ll clean your clock!”

Celebrity quote:
“I was singing You Ain’t Woman Enough when this woman raised up and said, ‘I’ve been to Hurricane Mills, and I had your old man.’ I pulled up my gown and hit the floor—I was gonna clean her clock.”
- Country singer Loretta Lynn

69-year-old Loretta Lynn recently made a comeback with Van Lear Rose, an album produced by hipster Jack White of the White Stripes. Married at 13, Loretta’s hard childhood is the subject of one of her biggest hits, Coal Miner’s Daughter. However, she is most famous for her angry songs directed at bad husbands and the bad women who would like to steal them.

In Fist City, for example, Lynn warns woman who is after her husband, “You'd better move your feet if you don't wanna eat a meal that's called Fist City!” This song came out in 1968 and the term fist city didn’t catch on as slang. However, it did pave the way for the similar 70s playground threat, “How would you like to eat a knuckle sandwich?

Of course, there are many more many slang terms for causing physical injury. An old fashioned way to hit someone over the head is to crown them. To pop someone can mean to punch them, but it can also mean to shoot them. To punch someone’s lights out is to knock them unconscious. As for cleaning someone’s clock, that expression is more often shortened to just clocking them.

What’s new at Slang City?
“I'm a nerd, but forget what you heard, I'm like James Bond the third, sh-sh-sh-shaken not stirred.” Check out rapping nerd Kevin Gnapoor in our translation of dialogue from the movie Mean Girls.