Turn back the clock

'Turn back the clock' means doing something that reminds you of the past



DefinitionYour turn

“Turn back the clock” is an idiom that means to do something that reminds you of the past. We can’t travel in time, but it’s fun to pretend. How would that look? If you’re looking at a clock that always moves forward, then going back in time would be like turning back the clock.

If you listen to the radio, the DJ might say, “Now let’s turn back the clock and play a hit from the 1990s.” That means, “Let’s pretend it’s the late 1990s and play a song that was popular then.”

You can turn back the clock by dressing up in clothes that were popular in another time, too (jean shorts? pleated pants?).

In South Korea, they get to turn back the clock, too. The country calculated age differently from the rest of the world. A South Korean would have a higher age than someone in another country born the same day–it was all about how they calculated and defined “age.”

But the country transitioned to the international standard, so someone who was 30 in South Korea would be either 28 or 29 under the new way of calculating age. So a 30-year-old gets to “turn back the clock” and pretend to be in his twenties again.

(Disclosure: no actual time travel was involved!)

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