Why is this question not GR?

What phrase is “o'clock” contracting?


Of or according to the clock: three o'clock.


c.1720, abbreviation of of the clock (1640s), from M.E. of the clokke (late 14c.). Attested from 1904 in reference to direction (by shooters, fighter pilots, etc.).

How was this relevant comment ignored?

Flagged as general reference because a Google search for "o'clock" leads directly to several pages explaining it including three dictionaries. – Hugo

How could the ever-vigilant members let the question garner twelve up votes, and the answers 18+7+5+1 up votes?

Above all, what have the answers contributed beyond what is already available as general reference?

  • 1. I don't believe Etymonline is considered a standard reference. I bet many people will not know it. They may not even know the word etymology. 2. Etymonline, like the OED, is usually very concise, with lots of abbreviations, unclear terminology, and omitted steps in between forms. Explaining the etymology of a word a bit more elaborately can be very productive and useful, definitely something we should want on our website. Do you think everybody will know what "M.E." means, for example? And don't you think it could be interesting to explain how and when exactly the f was dropped? Dec 28, 2012 at 15:46
  • 4
    Just because you can Google something doesn't make it general reference.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 28, 2012 at 19:02
  • 3
    @Cerberus: etymonline is totally a GR reference.
    – Mitch
    Dec 28, 2012 at 19:04
  • @Mitch: I disagree, for the reasons mentioned. Easily look up, in a standard work of reference. Etymonline is neither, because of points 1 and 2. This is not what GR was meant for, as Martha says. Dec 29, 2012 at 3:14
  • First off, no one would think "I disagree/ I don't believe/ I don't think" has a respectable place in a respectable Q&A -- cite references.
    – Kris
    Dec 29, 2012 at 4:43
  • Did any one answer any of the points in the question? Will people note that it is not intended to challenge anyone but to seek answers?
    – Kris
    Dec 29, 2012 at 4:50
  • @Cerberus: your reasons 1 and 2 also seem to apply to a thesaurus. Surely most people have heard of 'dictionary'. But a general reference is not necessarily a 'reason to close as GR'.
    – Mitch
    Dec 29, 2012 at 14:52
  • 1
    @Mitch: I have never in my life used a thesaurus (I'm not sure why I would want to), so I wouldn't know. If indeed they apply... Dec 29, 2012 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


The question was posted on November 2nd 2010. GR got proposed more than two months later, and implemented several months later still (can't find the exact date right now).

You are free to vote to close as GR now that that reason exists.

Alternatively, or in addition, the question can get a historical-importance lock.

  • Avoid down voting according to convenience.
    – Kris
    Dec 28, 2012 at 15:41
  • 1
    @Kris I haven't downvoted your question. You have, however, downvoted my answer. May I conveniently ask you why?
    – RegDwigнt
    Dec 28, 2012 at 15:43
  • Neither vote is mine, but surely a Meta downvote signifies disagreement? That is, someone disagrees with @Kris that the question should be closed as GR; and someone disagrees with Reg that the question should be closed or locked. Yes? No?
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Dec 28, 2012 at 15:45
  • @AndrewLeach Down voting, esp., without comment, has come to mean "that hurt my pride" these days (I always down vote with a relevant comment, and not for reasons of pride). If voting were really anonymous, how would someone say "you have downvoted my answer"? Any thoughts?
    – Kris
    Dec 29, 2012 at 4:48
  • 4
    A downvote is no longer anonymous if you combine it with a flag for deletion, which you did. So, as a matter of fact, people with sufficient privileges now do see that the downvote was yours. What we are still not seeing is the "relevant comment" you supposedly "always" leave.
    – RegDwigнt
    Dec 31, 2012 at 11:44

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