Broken Clock Meaning and Symbolism (Stillness, Distance, and Time)

Broken Clock Meaning and Symbolism

Having a broken clock in your house or seeing a broken clock is often considered a bad omen. It can symbolize stillness of time, ailing relationships, and bad luck.

In film and literature, a broken clock can be a motif about the distortion of time, being stuck in time, or being frozen in time.

Seeing a broken clock in your dreams is also generally a bad omen and can be used as a wake-up call for the coming time.

Remember that symbolism is subjective. The below are examples of possible interpretations only, and may not be the correct interpretations for you and your situation.

What Does a Broken Clock Symbolize in Real Life?

1. Stillness

Broken Clock

Seeing a broken clock or having a broken clock in your home can be a symbol of stillness.

While stillness is often interpreted as a good thing (such as in the symbolism of gardens), the stillness of a broken clock is not as positive.

The stillness of a broken clock often means stagnancy. And being stagnant means lack of growth, which can be really dangerous.

For example, we might imagine a broken clock in the still, empty, dusty house of a lonely old man who has no reason to live.

Related: Time Metaphors and Idioms

2. Disregard of Responsibilities


Having a broken clock nearby can also hint towards someone’s disregard for your responsibilities.

It can mean that someone is hiding away from their responsibilities on purpose. This symbolism comes from the idea that time has stood still so someone doesn’t have to do something in the future.

By breaking the clock, the future is delayed. As a result, you don’t have to do the things in the future that you’re not looking forward to.

Related: What does it mean to dream of an old house?

3. Increasing Distance


A broken clock can also represent the increasing distance in your bonds with people who are close to you.

This symbolism comes from the idea that a broken clock involves a break or disturbance in life. Similarly, when you become distant from loved ones, there can be a sense inside of us that the world isn’t right.

4. A Scary Moment

Having a broken clock in your home or seeing a broken clock can also represent a scary moment in a film or book.

It’s rare that you see a broken clock during happy moments in films and literature. It usually appears at a time of foreboding. It appears on walls at times of hardship or even spooky periods to create an ambiance of fear and suspense for what’s about to come.

Related: Lighthouse Symbolism

5. Bad Luck

Bad Luck

Broken clocks are considered bad omens because people think they bring bad luck.

They are signs that something isn’t quite right in the world. This could be interpreted as a bad sign of things to come, or a sign that something has gone wrong but you don’t know it yet.

People who interpret dreams might therefore also interpret a broken clock in a dream as a sign of bad things to come.

Related: What do Bells Symbolize?

What Does Dreaming of a Broken Clock Mean?

1. Anxiety (Seeing a Broken Clock in a Dream)


Seeing a broken clock in your dreams, in general, can mean that you might be facing anxiety because of an overwhelming workload and emotional stress.

Anxiety can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. When we feel anxious, we will often have bad, negative, or scary dreams with strange symbols like this in them.

Reflect on how you felt in the dream: were you feeling anxious and was your general sense of the dream that it was negative? This might help you interpret it more effectively.

2. Moving Backwards in Life (Broken Clock Moves Backwards)

If you see a broken clock moving backward in time, it is often considered a negative sign.

It could mean that you are thinking too much about the past. The dream might be a sign that you need to look forward more rather than backward.

It might also mean that your subconscious feels like the decisions you are making are taking you backward. They aren’t helping you to progress and move into new and exciting times.

3. Death of a Seriously Ill Person (Clock Breaks in Your Dreams)


Seeing a clock break in your dream can be interpreted as a sad sign. It can signify the death of a very ill person.

In this dream, the clock starts off ticking, but suddenly stops without notice. This stop is very dramatic and feels like the end – even death – of something.

If dreams are our way of interpreting our experiences and speaking with our subconsciousness, then it makes sense that our mind might represent our heartbreak at a loved one’s death through symbols like a clock breaking.

4. Unexpected Communication (Seeing a Broken Clock)

This is one positive interpretation of seeing a broken clock in your dreams. For this interpretation, we see broken clocks as signs that you’re about to communicate with someone from the spiritual world.

The pausing clock allows people from the spiritual world to pierce through into our material world and engage in conversation with us. It might be communication with a guardian angel or a deceased loved one.

This interpretation is, of course, subjective, but is nevertheless one possible way to interpret this vision.

5. End of a Relationship (If Your Partner Breaks a Clock)


If your partner or any close person breaks a clock in your dreams, it can symbolize the end of a relationship.

Remember, everyone in a relationship dreams of a breakup every now and then. It’s a natural feature of our very human anxieties about trust and security.

When you wake up from the dream, try to reflect on whether the dream occurred because of your anxieties, or whether it occurred because of your genuine desire for this event to happen.

6. Bad Luck (Clock Breaking as You Leave)

Seeing a clock breaking as you leave your home can be interpreted as a sign that you need to be extra cautious today.

People who believe this interpretation may feel like they will have bad luck for an entire day. They might choose to be extra careful on the day after that dream and act conservatively to avoid any mishaps.

Summary of Broken Clock Dream Symbolism

Seeing a broken clock in your dreams is generally interpreted a bad omen. It can signify stagnant growth, bad luck, and the end of some bonds.

It can be viewed as a warning call and a reminder to be a little more cautious in real life.

Here is a summary of a few examples of the possible interpretations (remembering none of them might be the right one!):

Broken Clock SymbolismPotential Meaning or Interpretation
1.Seeing a Broken Clock in GeneralIt can mean that you are facing anxiety.
2.Broken Clock Moving BackwardsThere is a chance that you are moving backward by thinking about the past too much.
3.Clock Breaking in Your DreamIt can mean that a close person who is seriously ill has died and you’re interpreting that through your subconscious.
4.Seeing a Broken ClockYou might be in communication with the spirit world.
5.Your Partner Breaking a ClockAnxiety about or desire to end a relationship.
6.Clock Breaking When You LeaveBad luck or misfortune are coming your way.

How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism

Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.

Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.

This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.


Broken clocks in literature and film are generally used to create suspense, show that something is not quite right, or show the stagnancy of a space or character. Having a broken clock in your house is generally also seen as a bad omen as people believe that it brings bad luck. Seeing a broken clock in your dreams can be interpreted subjectively in a wide range of ways, but generally, it often points to the idea that something isn’t quite right.