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Difference between By the clock and By the time

by the clock—do smth. paying a lot of attention to the time (so that one is not late):

  • There are people who just hate to do anything by the clock.

by the timeat the time that; as soon as:

  • Eddie performed with various bands and by the time he was nineteen he left Fort Worth.

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase by the hour

1. during considerable periods at a time:

  • He would argue by the hour, but never for arguing sake.

2. (of wages) paid for the hours given to work:

  • The proposal to pay by the hour instead of by the mile would lower the American railroader to the level of his Soviet counterpart.

3. (hyperbolic) very fast:

  • Evidence is mounting by the hour that these regulations are being used by the President’s camp to hide behind, and rather ungracefully.