# Name for the phenomenon when all the numbers on a clock are identical?February 25, 2013 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Often I look at the clock when all the digits are the same, such as, 11:11 or 4:44. Is there a name for this? Do you have your own name for this?
posted by smoochbelly to Writing & Language (26 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

According to my ex, 11:11 is "stick time."
posted by dame at 8:05 AM on February 25, 2013

Confirmation bias? Meaning, you look at the clock all the time, but only notice/remember it when all the digits are the same.
posted by Grither at 8:05 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've always thought of it as wishing time.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 8:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

The Von Restorff effect is a bias in favour of remembering the unusual.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:10 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Folks, the question is "name for the phenomenon when all the numbers on a clock are identical", not name for the phenomenon of noticing this phenomenon with greater-than-expected frequency.

I call this "temporal alignment."
posted by drlith at 8:15 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

I read the OP's question slightly differently as "is there a name for it when all the numbers on the clock are the same," not "is there a name for the fact that I always look at a clock and see the same numbers."

I don't have an answer for either.
posted by handful of rain at 8:16 AM on February 25, 2013

The digits themselves are a form of palindrome, though I don't know of any specific term for all the digits being the same on a clock. When I was a kid it was a common thing to wish on.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:18 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

[Folks, confirmation bias as mechanism for noting is duly noted at this point but the question appears to be about the name of the numeric string, not the phenomenon of recalling it.]
posted by cortex at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2013

Grither and MuffinMan, I think you nailed why I remember those occurrences. Once confirmation bias was pointed out, I realized I don't remember times when I look at my analog watch when the minutes and hours would be identical.
posted by smoochbelly at 8:28 AM on February 25, 2013

handful of rain, I am looking for a name. Rich Hall had a book called "Snigglets" that named odd things just like this. Example: a "megenega bar" is the line you draw on a check after the amount so a person can't write "and a million dollars."
posted by smoochbelly at 8:29 AM on February 25, 2013

Wishing time -- but that's specifically for 11:11. You can't go making a wish every hour, that's just silly.
posted by spunweb at 8:30 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

synchronicity, literal version.
posted by effluvia at 8:30 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

My favorites are any time that ends in 52 for the minutes, which I call "Space Invader Time", or 25, which I call "Dead Space Invader Time". Look at the numbers on a digital clock, you'll see what I mean.

I am also endlessly fascinated by 10:08pm because it is the time on my digital clock when the highest number of of elements are lit up, and 1:11am for the exact opposite reason.

I sometimes worry about how fascinated I am by staring at my digital clock. I sometimes think that my son might not be the only autistic person in this family.
posted by Lokheed at 8:33 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

2:22 or 22:22 is called "Ducks" when I worked on the floor of one of the exchanges. 12:34 was called "progression". I had not heard "sticks", but I like it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:35 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think the term for what you're seeing is something like visual symmetry or numerical alliteration, in the sense that it's apparent on a digital clock and not an analogue one.

In my head, it reads like bingo though: 2:22 (number two, me and you; number three, you and me; number 4, knock at the door; number five, man alive; number 8, garden gate; number 10, Maggie's Den; number 11, legs;)
posted by MuffinMan at 8:37 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wishing time, but it has some specific rules. The number ordains both the number of wishes and number of repeats necessary (e.g., 2:22 you wish two things three times, at 5:55 you wish five things three times), and if it moves to the next digit while you're still in the middle of your repeats, you have to hold your breath while completing the wishes.

I have no idea where I came up with this, my sibling and parents have no idea where I came up with it, but I've been doing it for decades.
posted by arnicae at 8:47 AM on February 25, 2013

Loving all these names and different clock states I hadn't considered before. =)
posted by smoochbelly at 8:47 AM on February 25, 2013

effluvia's comment gave me the idea to call it "synchronos".
posted by smoochbelly at 8:50 AM on February 25, 2013

Here's, uh, one theory: http://www.1111angels.net/.

"These 11:11 Wake-Up Calls on your digital clocks, mobile phones, VCR’s and microwaves are the "trademark" prompts of a group of just 1,111 fun-loving Spirit Guardians, or Angels, and the 11:11 prompt is their way of using our innate ability for pattern recognition to let us know that they are here. Once they have your attention, they will use other digits, like 12:34, or 2:22 to remind you of their presence. Invisible to our eyes, they are very real."
posted by srrh at 8:51 AM on February 25, 2013

You guys are crazy. Wishing time has no rules - you see the same numbers on the clock, you make a wish. The end. Come on, everyone know that!
posted by lyssabee at 8:51 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Numerologists have a particular fondness for numbers composed of a single repeated numeral, and ascribe all sorts of mystical significance to them. Whether they appear in serial numbers, license plates, room numbers, dates, or digital clock readouts makes no difference to them; they're not picky.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:21 AM on February 25, 2013

I like where this is headed. I think we should come up with cute and catchy names for each one-minute interval of the day. "Well, let's see...It's dead space invaders now, so...I guess I'll see you at stick time?"
posted by etc. at 9:58 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

". . . I tried to explain to him that this rhapsody of incoherent terms was precisely the opposite of a system of numbers. I told him that saying 11:11 meant saying eleven hours, eleven minutes, an analysis which is not found in the "times" dead space invaders or stick time. He did not understand me or refused to understand me."
posted by j.edwards at 10:17 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

11:34 is "hell" upside-down on a digital clock

I knew someone in high school who called 8:08 "Bob o'clock"
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 10:39 AM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I was told that if you look at the clock and all of the numbers are the same, it means that someone loves you.
posted by Morrigan at 11:16 AM on February 25, 2013

". . . I tried to explain to him that this rhapsody of incoherent terms was precisely the opposite of a system of numbers. I told him that saying 11:11 meant saying eleven hours, eleven minutes, an analysis which is not found in the "times" dead space invaders or stick time. He did not understand me or refused to understand me."

Hopefully it's not spoiling if I add the missing attribution here -- this is a paraphrase from Funes the Memorious by Borges.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:09 PM on February 26, 2013

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